56. Mefloquine Dispatches: Bryan Brown-Easley, 7th July 2017
Background: I just watched the movie ‘Breaking’ (2022) which has just become available to rent. I followed up by reading a few stories but settled on the Task & Purpose article written in 2018 which is the most detailed. One of the clearest examples of Lariam derangement (Quinism) I have seen. I’m stunned that no one has picked it up.
Name: Bryan Brown-Easley or Bryan Easley (rank: Lance Corporal, USMC)
Deceased: 7th July 2017 (aged: 33). Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
NOK: Jessica (Wife). Jayla (Daughter)
Exposure to Anti-Quinolines: Possibly mefloquine as part of 2nd Marine Logistics Group deployment to Kuwait (2003) and then again mefloquine as part of his deployment to Al-Anbar, Iraq (2005).
Conditions witnessed/documented that relate to Quinism: Lariam derangement, Paranoia and Schizophrenia.
Confounding Factors: PTSD (diagnosed). Misdiagnosis. Incredibly poor treatment by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Poverty.
Cause of Death: Killed by a police sniper.
OPINION: I’ll start controversially. The screen poster likens this movie to Dog Day Afternoon. DDA was a completely shit movie but groundbreaking in its own way. Breaking could have been an amazing movie but it completely misses the point. That said, it might be the first movie to document Lariam derangement on screen.
The treatment by the USA Department of Veterans Affairs is both disgusting and noteworthy. About to be made homeless and obviously upset at his treatment he ‘kicks-off’ in the VA office. It must have been bad because they end up hand-cuffing him and putting him on the street. In the movie no one even comes to his aid (not surprising). As he walks into the Wells Fargo bank he is still battered from that experience and his face is noticeably grazed.
According to all reports, Bryan Brown-Easley suffered from PTSD and Schizophrenia post service. Schizophrenia is usually diagnosed in the young or those with problematic upbringings. According to T&P he had quite a happy childhood and the recruiters would have picked up this type of condition as part of the endless medicals you complete before joining.
Lariam derangement can come at anytime. Homelessness and desperation can overload your executive function on a brain already damaged by Lariam. You can still operate while being insane, even be highly functional as is the case with Bryan for parts of the siege. Bryan jokes that he might be the worst bank robber in history and from entry to his death the entire plan is not well executed (lack of training), sloppy (the toilet break) and overly polite (he is not a killer). Rather than save him this will eventually get him killed.
His clear paranoia is shown in the movie (‘my brother has put four hits out on me’). It is something a lot of us suffer but Bryan seems to have it really bad.
Medical/MH Note: My opinion is not based on a medical nor mental health background. Just a lived experience former Digger trying to raise awareness on Quinism. PTSD wasn’t a thing until it was.
Breaking (originally movie titled 892). (2022). Bleeker Street, USA.
Maclean, D.S. (2014). The answer to the riddle is me: A memoir of Amnesia. Boston, USA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Marriott, A. (2022). If you wake at midnight. London, UK. Austin, Macauley.
Repatriation Medical Authority, Australian Government. SOPs matching factor Mefloquine Last modified 2023. http://www.rma.gov.au/sops/search?Number=&Year=&Condition=&Factor=Mefloquine
Task & Purpose. ‘They didn’t have to kill him’: The death of Lance Corporal Brian Easley. Published 9.04.2018. https://taskandpurpose.com/news/death-lance-corporal-brian-easley/