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Kirstie Alley is defending her faith in Scientology — and its stance on what she calls “psychiatric abuses” — after her tweet linking psychiatric drugs to the latest round of mass shootings got pushback online.
The Cheers actress, who has been a member of the Church of Scientology since 1979 and credits it with helping her overcome a cocaine addiction, shared a report titled “Psychiatric Drugs Create Suicide & Violence” on Twitter, which blames such medication for “self-harm” and “homicidal ideation.”
Alley first shared the report after Roseanne Barr posted a YouTube video in which her son, Jake Pentland, vented about the reaction to the El Paso and Dayton shootings and accused the media of overlooking the impact of psychotropic drugs.
“I’m tired of people thinking it’s guns or that someone posted on f****** 8chan and likes anime, or maybe they’re bullied,” he said. “Everybody’s looking at the wrong f****** s*** and I’m tired of it. Nobody f****** wants to talk about the fact that somewhere between 90 and 95 percent of these shooters are on psychotropic medication.”
While experts tell The Poynter Institute’s fact-checking arm Poltifact that there is “no scientific basis” for Pentland’s “unproven” claim about mass shooters and prescription drugs — which he insists in his video is not a “conspiracy theory” — Alley is among those who feel otherwise.
But many of Alley’s followers called her out for speaking out against psychiatric drugs. Some commenters credited medication with helping them treat anxiety and depression, and accused her of being biased against such drugs because she is a Scientologist.
The church outlines its views on psychiatry here, slamming the “nightmarish proportions” of antidepressants being marketed to the public, casting doubt on the existence of the diseases the drugs are intended to treat and writing it off as an “elaborate and deadly hoax.” The report shared by Alley hails from Citizens Commission on Human Rights (CCHR) International, a nonprofit organization founded by the Church of Scientology.
Alley responded to critics by doubling down on her argument against the drugs, but insisted, “No one’s taking your drugs away.” She also claimed that “one doesn’t really need to be trained” to have an opinion against “psychiatric abuses.”
“He hated psychiatric ABUSES,” she continued, in reference to Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard. “So do most people. One doesn't really need to be trained to mistrust or oppose psychiatric abuses. If you condone ECT, lobotomies and drugging the f*** out of the masses then clearly this suggestion was not for you. Peace.”
Alley did get support from some fans, one of whom accused critics of hating on her religion.
She ended the debate with this:
Alley isn’t the only celebrity Scientologist to raise the alarm about psychiatric medication. In 2005, Tom Cruise and then-Today host Matt Lauer got into a heated conversation about Scientology and psychiatry, with the movie star decrying Adderall and Ritalin.
“I’ve never agreed with psychiatry, ever,” said Cruise, who was introduced to Scientology by first wife Mimi Rogers, Alley’s former roommate.
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