There’s no way we can bring Greg back.. but please don’t have an­other death like his Heart­bro­ken dad pleads with Army to re­view anti-malaria medicine

Irish Sunday Mirror - - NEWS - BY SYLVIA POWNALL

Ven Naughton’s son Greg died by sui­cide at the age of 34 and he fears re­peated ex­po­sure to the med­i­ca­tion, which can cause se­ri­ous psy­chotic side ef­fects, may be to blame.

Mr Naughton told the Ir­ish Sun­day Mir­ror: “He used to com­plain about the Lariam, say­ing the eff­ing of­fi­cers get some­thing else but we get this s**t.

“His flat­mate said he was a bit strange when he came back from Chad. Other peo­ple said he used to go into trances. He came back early from his last tour of duty and no­body knew why.”

Greg served as a sig­nal­man in the army for 13 years and com­pleted six tours of duty abroad.

Signs of de­pres­sion emerged the Christ­mas be­fore he died when Greg, who was usu­ally “suited and booted” and loved vis­it­ing pals, ar­rived in a track­suit and did not see his friends.

Tragedy struck just weeks later when he was found dead by his girl­friend at their home in Bray, Co Wick­low, on Jan­uary 20, 2011.

Mr Naughton added: “She asked him to go with her to her mother’s for din­ner but he said, ‘No I’m a lit­tle tired I’ll bring Belle [their dog] for a walk’.

“As she drove out of the es­tate he had the dog lead in his hand and he waved her off.

“When she came back she brought her sis­ter with her. She went up the stairs and saw his legs hang­ing down from the at­tic door.

“When Greg was ly­ing in the cof­fin I felt proud of him. He didn’t do any­thing wrong. Why does a per­son take their life? Be­cause they’re in pain and they think there’s no way out.”

The Ir­ish Medicines Board high­lighted the risks as­so­ci­ated with the drug in 1996 but the De­part­ment of De­fence has yet to con­clude an in­ves­ti­ga­tion started in 2013.

More than 50 sol­diers are now su­ing the State over the malaria medicine. Two weeks ago a mo­tion call­ing for the use of Lariam to be dis­con­tin­ued passed un­op­posed in the Dail.

Mr Naughton said: “It was an anti-cli­max. The Gov­ern­ment benches were empty so I felt there was no­body lis­ten­ing. I’m ask­ing the Army to please recog­nise there may be a prob­lem. There’s no way that we can bring Greg back, but don’t have an­other Greg. Just don’t keep do­ing it.”

Mak­ers Roche have said an EU safety assess­ment found the ben­e­fits of the drug out­weigh its risks.

If you are af­fected by is­sues raised you can con­tact The Sa­mar­i­tans at 116123 or Pi­eta House at 1800 247 247.

His flat­mate said he was a bit strange. Oth­ers said he went into trances VEN NAUGHTON ON HIS SON BE­FORE HE DIED

news@irish­mir­ Greg on tour

Army still uses the con­tro­ver­sial malaria drug Anti-malaria drug Lariam Greg Naughton


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