Random Analytica

Random thoughts, charts, infographics & analysis. Not in that order

Tag: USA

63. Mefloquine Dispatches: Benjamin ‘BJ’ Sifrit, 26th May 2002


How did this United States Navy SEAL, who topped his Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training class and had earned a good-conduct medal become a cut-out and a murderer? Maybe ‘BJ’ wasn’t quite the ‘Natural Born Killer’ he thought of himself…


It is 2019. I have recently been released from hospital and am spending the weekend with the kids. My eldest and I watch a couple of episodes of Forensic Files each day and discuss old technology. In the digital world, cheque fraud seems somehow quaint.

One day we come to an episode titled ‘Dirty Little Seacret’. Something triggers me. I read up on the case immediately after the show. Memories start to pop. I get excited and agitated as they hit and recede. T*, who is still watching something else on TV turns to me and asks if I am alright?

“BJ got mefloquine somewhere”, I state.

“Why do you say that, Dad”?, T* replies.

“Because we have the same backstory”.

In 2021 I am formally diagnosed with amnesia.


Name: Benjamin Adam ‘BJ’ Sifrit.

Rank/Occupation: Hospital Corpsman Second Class, SEAL Team Two, United States Navy.

Date of Incident(s): 25-31 May 2002 (aged 24). Ocean City, Maryland, USA.

Incident(s): Double homicide (25-26 May), break and enter (31 May).

Victims: Joshua Ford (aged 32) and Martha ‘Geney’ Crutchley (aged 51).

Spouse: Erika Sifrit (aged 24).

Exposure to Anti-Quinolines: Not confirmed/potentially classified. I would be interested to see what BJ was doing in the first half of 1999, especially where he travelled too.

Conditions witnessed/documented that relate to Quinism: Prodromal symptoms including memory loss and peculiar behaviour. Lariam derangement on numerous occassions. Excessive risk taking behaviour. Psychosis (mefloquine madness) and criminality. M. William Phelps also details a number of further allegations. These include the potential that BJ was a serial killer (possibly in both the USA/Chile), a necrophile and even cannibalism was raised. The Ocean City murders may have been an act of ‘Blooding’. Other items that keep coming up in similar cases linked to mefloquine are acts of decapitation and trophy collecting.

Confounding Factors: Demolitions and diving. Excessive alcohol consumption.

Convictions: 2nd degree Murder, First degree Assault (USA).


OPINION: According to BJ, his military career started to spiral out of control immediately once he hooked up with Erika Grace. Although that might be technically true, what is missed is that they both met in Spring 1999 and swapped numbers but nothing eventuated. According to BJ he wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship, nor a wife. Another friend, a NAVY SEAL wife who lived with BJ for four months not only reported that he wasn’t violent, he was quite shy around women. Yet a few months later, in late July, BJ meets Erika at a SEAL party and they are in an almost immediate ‘steady relationship’? Barely, three weeks pass then BJ rings his mother from the Silver Bell Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas, Nevada. They are both just 21. As noted in Cruel Death:

BJ’s parents had never met Erika, nor had they even heard of her when BJ called shortly after the wedding to announce he was now married.

“August 21, [1999],” BJ told his mother over the phone. He sounded happy. “We met three weeks ago.” Recalling the incident later, Elizabeth Sifrit had tears in her eyes, her voice scratchy and weak from the pain of having to recall how her son’s life took such a nosedive into chaos.

Prodromal symptoms including memory loss, peculiar behaviour and even psychotic behaviour are early warning signs of Quinism.

As noted above, when BJ first called his Mum about getting married he stated that he met Erika three weeks prior when in fact they had met months earlier, even swapping numbers,  possibly suggesting memory loss, even amnesia.

From being not that interested in a relationship to getting married in three weeks would definitely qualify as peculiar behaviour. In fact, just months after getting married he would start to get in trouble with the Navy and breaking absolute ‘no-no’ rules, like sneaking Erika into his Mountain and Arctic Warfare training, which is undertaken in Alaska.

Dr. Jane Quinn explained the literature already available on this subject during her 2018 testimony into the Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Excerpt from Submission 73:

Just months of meeting Erika, BJ starts to get in serious trouble with the Navy after an impeccable 3-years of service and a good conduct medal. Within a year his acts of insubordination are so bad that he is court martialed and drummed out of the Navy on a bad conduct discharge. One Navy prosecutor said Sifrit seemed to have developed an “utter disregard for authority.” I actually believe these instances to be periods of Lariam derangement and excessive risk taking.

One possible case of Lariam derangement sticks out and I believe demonstrates the power dynamic between these two. . An excerpt via Murderpedia:

There’s even a disturbing account of a test Benjamin Sifrit gave his wife to see how far she would go for him. She recalled, after being married for a year, that he wanted her to become pregnant. Court documents indicate that she carried his baby for nearly four months.

Then, out of the blue, Erika Sifrit claimed her husband changed his mind and ordered her to “get an abortion or I’m going to dig it out of you,” Collins reported.

After she terminated the pregnancy, Benjamin Sifrit then told her: “I never wanted a kid, I just wanted to see how far you would go for me,” according to court documents.

Finally, we need to look at the psychotic behaviour, which some veterans have nicknamed mefloquine madness. No woman who weighs (at best) 45kg is kicking a door in, especially if she hasn’t trained at it. The first door I kicked in was at Bindoon and it took me three attempts and I almost broke my leg on the first attempt, much to the amusement of my mate who would go on to become an officer in one of the Commando regiments. Detective Bernal made the point that this particular bathroom door in Room 1101 was kicked in with such force that the doorknob hit the corner of the wall. BJ isn’t convincing anyone that he was asleep in the car on the night of the double homicide in Ocean City. Unfortunately, this fact was left out of both the trial and the subsequent Forensic Files episode and would have nailed BJ. He would have been where the action was. In fact, I even theorise that the killing of ‘Geney’ might have been BJ blooding Erika after he had shot and executed Josh. Then there are the ‘other’ allegations.

According to Erika’s own admissions during the pre-polygraph interview and the available forensic evidence which was re-enacted in part during the Dirty Little Seacret episode there are a number of events in the double homicide which would suggest mefloquine madness.

26th May 2002

2.26AM: Erika calls her ‘friend’ who we will refer to as ‘Snake-Guy’ twice. Both calls last less than five seconds. She has been drinking and snorting Xanax for approximately 20-hours.

Shortly after she returns to find her prized bag moved, and her drugs and jewels are missing. After a search cannot find the missing items and with Erika’s mood becoming more frantic accusations are made against the visiting couple, heightening BJ. He then produces a gun and tells the couple to strip. Naked, the couple take an opportunity to run and lock themselves in the adjoining hottub/bathroom. BJ goes to Erika and asks what she wanted him to do with Geney and Joshua. Erika thinks about it and tells BJ to just do it “Just fucking do it,”. Even after BJ finds out about the 911 call made before the call to Snake Guy he seems to have an epiphany. “I’m just going to fucking waste them, cool?”. He is smiling.

Observation: I theorise that BJ hid the drugs and jewels on purpose to heighten Erika who has anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder. I also believe that getting Erika into a murderous rage was a way for BJ to ramp himself. Ramping is a term that my co-parent and I used for my lariam derangement. Why would BJ want to ramp himself? Because it is better than cocaine.

BJ then fires one or two shots through the door, wounding Josh, most likely in the arm. Erika might have even directed fire. Then BJ kicks open the door and executes Josh with a bullet to his head. He then hands the gun to Erika who walks over to the cowering Geney and fires the pistol. She misses, either by design or by mistake as the bullet goes through the wall into the next room. Pulling out her knife she proceeds to stab Geney in the stomach. Before her arrest in five days she will get a tattoo of a cobra on the spot where she first cut Geney. A trophy for her husband who approved.

Observation: Only two people really know what happened in that room in those moments but I’d note that Detective Bernal, one of the lead investigators, made the observation during BJs trial that there was ‘no blood on the carpet’. Everything was contained to one kill-room. I suspect this was not BJs first kill although it might have been Erika’s. In fact, BJ might have been blooding Erika by letting her kill a ‘PUC’ otherwise known as a Person Under Control. In BJs time we called PUCs by an older term, a Prisoner of War (POW). In fact, I think he fired the shot into the wall.

Last one. Erika then goes out to get cleaning supplies. In the Forensic Files version she returns to find BJ in the hot-tub with the decapitated heads of Josh and Geney floating and throws the coup de grace bullet to Erika as a trophy. In another version she enters the bathroom to find BJ completing an act of necrophilia. By his own admission BJ then cut the bodies into six separate pieces and removed them from the premises without leaving evidence. What ever post mortem atrocities happened in that room there was not one trace outside of that room.

Last Observation: Random victims (disorganised). A contained kill-room (organised). Alleged necrophilia (disorganised). An almost seamless disposal of two bodies, literally the hardest thing to do (organised). BJ was a mixed serial killer or working on becoming one. Thankfully, a combination of too much alcohol and Xanax by the perpetrators, good police work in Ocean City and a lot of good fortune got in the way of a deadly murder spree.

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. Remember, PTSD wasn’t a thing until it was.

Final Note: Even before the murders BJ was acting out of character, certainly criminally and even psychotically, when the occasion demanded. Yet BJs actions on that Memorial Day weekend points to a much darker diagnosis. One that doesn’t exist anymore.

I actually believe that BJ might be a paranoid schizophrenic.

You might already know of a famous cartoon character that suffers from that affliction. The Joker. Erika was his muse. In fact, I think a combination of horniness and laziness saved Karen Wilson and her drunken friend a few days later when they found themselves in an identical situation to Josh and Geney in Room 1101. After luring the pair into the Condo and with Erika’s items missing again, BJ starts to ramp and even pulls out his gun again. This time however, the items are found and BJ and Erika are getting amorous on the couch. Also, cleaning up a room after murder is hard work and expensive.

Although some may scoff at such a suggestion the Department of Veteran Affairs (Australia) considers both Bi-Polar Disorder and Schizophrenia as accepted conditions of mefloquine toxicity. Not that much of a jump to paranoid schizophrenia, surely?


Final, Final Note: M. William Phelps was reached for comment prior to the blog.


Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee, Australian Senate. Use of the Quinoline anti-malarial drugs Mefloquine and Tafenoquine in the Australian Defence Force. Submission 73. Dr Jane Quinn. Published 2018.

Forensic Files. (2009). Dirty Little Seacret. Season 13, Episode 47. https://www.forensicfiles.com/dirty-little-seacret/#

Marriot, A. (2022). If you wake at Midnight: The Lariam wonder drug scandal. Austin Macauley Publishers, London, UK.

Murderpedia. Erika Elaine Sifrit. Accessed 25.05.23. https://murderpedia.org/female.S/s/sifrit-erika.htm

Natural Born Killers. (1994). Warner Brothers, Burbank, CA, United States.

Ohwovoriole, T. Very Well Mind. What Is the Prodromal Phase in Schizophrenia? Updated 13.02.2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-prodromal-phase-in-schizophrenia-5203945

Phelps, M. William. (2009). Cruel Death. Kensington Publishing, New York City, USA.

Repatriation Medical Authority, Australian Government. SOPs matching factor Mefloquine. Last modified 2023. http://www.rma.gov.au/sops/search?Number=&Year=&Condition=&Factor=Mefloquine

Wikipedia. Erika and Benjamin Sifrit. Accessed 25.05.23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erika_and_Benjamin_Sifrit

Wikipedia. Quinism. Accessed 25.05.23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinism

Wikipedia. Serial Killer. Accessed 25.05.23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serial_killer




US Navy SEALs travel to far off locations, even malarial zones, to dive and blow shit up. Here is me with CDT One (the Australian version) blowing shit up in a far off location, although in this case, not a malarial zone. I didn’t recover this memory via a photo, I literally carry a knife wound from that trip. It gives me a giggle everytime I see it.


Bea Coldwell discovers that her husband is most likely suffering from periods of Lariam derangement after being posted to Sierra Leone and prescribed mefloquine in 2007.

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/



54. Mefloquine Dispatches: Mefloquine kills Penguins, 13th March 2023 (Final)

The Quinism Foundation puts out a Newsletter. The stories usually featured are a mixture of military and legal write-ups but April’s edition had a medical study that stuck out. I’ve gone to the abstract via BioOne Complete. Suspected Mefloquine Toxicity in a Colony of Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). Abstract:

Avian malaria is an important cause of mortality in captive penguins housed in outdoor exhibits. Mefloquine was used as a prophylaxis to treat a colony of 19 Humboldt penguins (Spheniscus humboldti) for avian malaria. A target dose of 30 mg/kg was obtained from anecdotal literature for sphenisciforms that was not based on pharmacokinetic or toxicity studies. For this reason, preliminary plasma concentrations of mefloquine were acquired after the first dose in some penguins to ensure that plasma concentrations reached human malaria prophylactic concentrations. Afterward, each penguin in the entire colony received mefloquine (26–31 mg/kg [125 mg in toto] PO q7d). Regurgitation was frequently observed starting after the fourth weekly administration. Plasma concentrations of mefloquine after the seventh dose showed elevated concentrations, and the treatment was immediately terminated. Eight penguins died during and after the treatment period. The first fatality occurred after the fifth weekly administration, and 7 birds died within 7–52 days after the seventh weekly administration. Three penguins were found dead without previous symptoms. The other five presented with marked lethargy, dyspnea, poor appetite, and vomiting, and all died despite medical care. The remaining 11 penguins of the colony survived without any supportive care; 5 did not exhibit any clinical disease signs, while the other 6 showed a mild apathy and decreased appetite. Mefloquine toxicity was highly suspected on the basis of clinical signs, the elevated mefloquine plasma concentrations, and no other underlying pathologic disease conditions identified through postmortem examinations. Nonspecific lesions, including pulmonary congestion and edema and hepatic perivascular hematopoiesis, were noted in the birds that died. Additionally, 1 case presented with myocarditis, and mycobacteria were observed within granulomas in the respiratory tract of 2 penguins. Caution is advised, and further studies are encouraged before administering mefloquine to penguins.

Half the weekly recommended dose for humans. Case Fatality Rate of 42.1%.

Random Analytica: Mefloquine – Colonels & Generals

Mefloquine wasn’t just given to Diggers [Australian slang for Other Ranks]. Colonels and Generals got it too. They get sick and they die. They don’t believe the diagnostic overshadowing of PTSD makes any sense either. Some are even voicing their concerns.

Here is a list of Colonels and Generals who either received Mefloquine on Operations OR (more telling) refused to take it. Correct as at 20th October 2019. I’ll update accordingly.


Confirmed Mefloquine Exposure and Symptomology

18th October 2019 (Canada): Lieutenant-General Roméo Antonius Dallaire. UNAMIR (Rwanda 1993/94). Via W5. Romeo Dallaire joining lawsuit against government over anti-malaria drug. Excerpt:

In a W5 exclusive, Dallaire announced that he is joining a lawsuit against the Canadian government and Defence Department over an anti-malaria drug that he, and other soldiers , were forced to take on missions to Rwanda, Somalia and Afghanistan.

Dallaire, who led the international peacekeeping mission in Rwanda in 1994, has become the highest ranking soldier to join an unprecedented legal action by veterans over the use of the anti-malaria drug Mefloquine. He joins nearly 900 other veterans who claim the Canadian government and Department of National Defence “willfully ignored and concealed the risks” of the drug, which is marketed under the brand name Lariam.

Dallaire has been hailed a hero, both for his attempts to stop the genocide in Rwanda, but also for his outspoken admission that he struggles with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

30th January 2019: Colonel Timothy Dunn (USA). Deployed (Sep – Dec 2006). Via the Military Times. ‘I plead with you to look at this very closely,’ retiree tells panel studying health effects of anti-malarial drugs. Excerpt:

Timothy Dunn, a retired Marine Corps colonel, was among those who told the committee they’d be willing to provide information.

” I open my self, my heart and soul and medical records to you,” Dunn said. “You have to do something to look at this closely and make a fair and just determination … there are many more than I who have had this problem.”

Dunn said he still suffers from insomnia, anxiety, depression, ringing in the ears, and dizziness.

22nd May 2016 (UK): General David Julian Richards. Operation Pallisar (2000). Via the Independent. British armed forces set to ban most prescriptions of controversial anti-malarial drug Lariam. Excerpt:

Lady Caroline Richards, the General’s wife, had also taken a keen interest in matter for a long time. She added “Wives and partners of people who had been affected by the use of Lariam approached me and described what had happened. There were some terrible, sad stories of trauma, of relationships ending, psychological problems. We heard about other forces which have stopped using Lariam, so this is obviously something which needed looking into.”

23rd November 2015 (UK): Major-General Alistair Duncan. Sierra Leone (1999). Via the Daily Mail. Has this highly decorated hero been driven mentally ill by an anti-malaria drug tourists are still given? Excerpt:

Today, however, he is locked up in a secure psychiatric unit near his home in Somerset. Tragically diminished, he has been incarcerated for ten months. He has lost the capacity to read and write; outbursts of aggression are punctuated by periods of torpor. He can be sweet-tempered and affectionate; remote and belligerent by turns. His wife, and a growing body of expert medical opinion, believe his psychiatric disorder has been caused, in part, by the controversial anti-malarial drug mefloquine, or Lariam, which he was given for six months in 1999 before being deployed to West Africa.

The Abstainers

31st August 2016 (UK): General Francis Richard Dannatt. Refused Mefloquine. Via The Guardian. Ex-army chief apologises to troops over anti-malaria drug. Excerpt:

Lord Dannatt, who was chief of the general staff between 2006 and 2009, told BBC2’s Victoria Derbyshire programme he would not take the drug because of his son’s experience with it.

Dannatt said his son Bertie had suffered mental health problems after taking two doses of Lariam before visiting Africa in the late 1990s. He was not in the armed forces at the time but had been prescribed the drug by his father’s army doctor.


If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

11. Mefloquine Dispatches: Full Bloom, 2012 (Final)

This is a weird one, even by my standards.

I have bought a typewriter over the weekend. It is a Lemair Deluxe 850TA. It comes with a travel case (so I guess I’m travelling at some stage). It comes with an additional ribbon. It is ancient like me.

I’m going to practice thank-you letters before I start writing my mefloquine memoir. No one will read my memoirs, but I don’t care. I write for myself these days.

On my wall sits a photo of a beautiful young actor. Dakota Fanning. I ripped the page out of magazine a day before I get hospitalised in March. It has occupied a place on my memory board for months. I don’t know why I do some things, but they all tend to turn out in the end. Vogue Australia has titled this cover ‘Full Bloom’.


As I wonder who to thank first, I look at my memory board and I am taken back to early the early 2010s and a package I received from Naomi Bloom.

I’m still doing Workforce Planning at this stage, but I am also thinking about exiting the industry. Naomi is a legend in Human Resources. On the cusp of retiring. Although I have never met her you get a real sense of who she is via her online presence. She is small and smart. Rather than pursue a career in astro-physics in the 1960s she writes one of the first programs for Human Resources. Before that is even a thing. Back then anything to do with technology was for men only. She has an amazing career in this male dominated hegemony. When she retires in 2016 the internet is full of interest and kudos. She writes still. Her most recent piece is on the importance of memory. How they sustain you in the tough times. How true!

When I meet her on Twitter, I am trying to convince my final workforce planning organisation to use its data in a much smarter way. I am trying to embolden them to use Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) rather than their dated technology and processes. I’m not having much success.

I must have lamented to Naomi Bloom at some stage because after that she sends me a copy of her book on the subject which she wrote in the 1980’s/90’s. I go through it with some amazement. It is her Magnus Opus. Her little bit of history. The technology she talks about in her book becomes standard practice across the world of Human Resource Management in the decades that follow. It is an amazing piece of writing which gets lost in the rush of history. She also sent a copy of her book to one of the young up-and-comers in the industry. I’m sure his copy has a proud place on his bookshelf.

Her book and short letter come as a surprise. They are a tonic. When she mails these books, the world is in a hurry, but she has made time to send them all the same.

Those small acts of kindness throughout my struggle have kept me going. Naomi Bloom, you probably don’t even remember sending that book to me but thank-you all the same. Your book is currently in storage, but I am looking forward to returning it to a bookshelf soon. It is a part of my history and a good memory.

Good memories sustain you in the tough times.



14th Oct 2019: Naomi kindly commented on Twitter about my post. I had to add the Magnus Opus part. A new memory!


Random Analytica: A ‘Soldiers-Five’ [trans. Basic Reading Guide] on Mefloquine

An old ‘soldiers-five’ on Mefloquine. When I first thought I was given Mefloquine I wasn’t sure where to look first. I initially got some good and some bad information. I’m not the tree of knowledge on Mefloquine but here is a suggested reading list and resource guide concerning Mefloquine. I’ve focused on veterans because that is my lived experience. Remember, this is a guide only. Consult your doctor.

Last updated 7th October 2019

World Health Organisation

8th August 1989: World Health Organisation. The original warning from WHO way back in 1989.

Consumer Medicine Information

9th October 2017: The Consumer Medicine Information guide for Lariam (linked here: 171009_ConsumerMedicineInformation_Roche_Lariam). A veteran mate has underlined the important health warnings.

Mefloquine Articles (non-specific)

27th April 1996: New Scientist.  Malaria pill stands accused – Lariam fends off malaria more effectively than any other drug, but growing evidence of disturbing side effects may soon land its manufacturer in court (via 960427_Article_NewScientist_Mefloquine). Thanks to the veteran mate who sent this through. He was given Lariam in 1994 and 1999 without the serious side-effects.

Mefloquine Articles for Veterans

27th January 2003: CBS News. The Dark Side Of Lariam. How Dangerous Is It? One of the first ‘deep-dives’ into mefloquine by a news outlet. Discusses the Fort Bragg suicide cluster where mefloquine was a factor.

19th September 2013: CBS News. Elite Army units to stop taking anti-malarial drug. The US Army’s Special Forces banned from using mefloquine in 2013.

25th September 2013: Huffpost. Mefloquine: The Military’s Suicide Pill. Dr Remington Nevin writes about mefloquine including the 2013 FDA’s ‘black-box’ warning. The world is waking up to the dangers of mefloquine. Dr Nevin is one of the leading experts in the field.

12th October 2014: Army Technology. Mefloquine – the military’s deadly malaria treatment. Dr Remington Nevin discusses the downside to mefloquine including his own personal deployment experience with the drug.

11th August 2016: Military Times. Malaria drug causes brain damage that mimics PTSD: case study. A different take on mefloquine exposure from the USA.

22nd August 2016: Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Defence force admits soldier shouldn’t have been included in East Timor anti-malaria drug trial. One of the first articles I read. Also includes a link to a 2016 7.30 Report about the Australian mefloquine/tafenoquine trials.

30th August 2018: The Irish Times. Vivid nightmares and suicidal thoughts – ex-soldiers blame drug for destroyed lives. An Irish perspective. With a standing Army of approximately 10,000 they have still administered Lariam to approx. 5,500 – 6,000 over the years.


12th June 2019: The Medical Republic. TMR podcast: Can this anti-malarial drug really cause “brain damage”? Thanks to my GP, Dr Mary Lamond for sending this to me. Along with other subjects the podcast covers mefloquine/tafenoquine exposure and its risks in simple language.


23rd January 2014: ‘The Answer to the Riddle Is Me’ by David Stuart MacLean. The Washington Post book review can be found here.

Official Mefloquine Sites (Information & Policy)

Last accessed 7th October 2019: Department of Defence (Australia). Mefloquine. An excellent resource. One of the first sites I visited. Mefloquine Loading Doses are also explained.


Dr Remington Nevin (USA). Possibly the leading expert in the field of Quinism in 2019 when I suspected my exposure. US Army (Major – Retired). A Vermont-based physician epidemiologist and expert consultant in the adverse effects of antimalarial drugs, particularly mefloquine and tafenoquine.


If you or someone you know needs help, please phone Lifeline on 131 114, Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800, Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636 or Open Arms on 1800 011 046.

8. Mefloquine Dispatches: Dr Pepper, 2011 then 1992 (Final)

I don’t keep more than a hundred photos or trophies from my life. In the 1990s photos were expensive and meant going to a Kodak shop to drop them off and pick them up. When I deploy with Company Group to the USS Tarawa in 1992, I’m glad that the US Navy are handing out brochures as we board in Freemantle. I stow it away in my pack somewhere. It survives long enough to be added to my 1992 photos. I look at it every couple of years. Bits and pieces come back.

The first real big ‘flash’ (memory) is a book. We have a library at Mincom, where I am working during the Noughties. We are still reading in 2006 when I pick up John Birmingham’s, World at War 2.1: Weapons of Choice book, the first in a long series. John Birmingham writes ‘splodey’ books. War. Fast paced. Easy to read on planes.

In the first book, John is writing a future defence system that incorporates a Gatling gun using ceramic bullets. Next generation shit. It reminds me of the Gatling defence system I see on the USS Tarawa. It’s early 1990s so no drones. The missile they shoot down is towed behind what looks to be a private jet. It’s impressive. A rip of bullets shreds the missile to pieces in milli-seconds. They fall into the sea. Everyone on the Australian side is impressed. We don’t have that level of protection yet. I hope we do now.

Twenty years after the missile take down, I’m telling that yarn to John over dinner, plus many beers and maybe a few whiskies. We were both in Canberra for work. He talks about the importance of having strong female characters in his pub-chat during a government funded book tour. I’m doing my last big Workforce Planning gig with a government department. He has an ability to both talk and to listen. I’m a total nerd after I get out and really enjoy his books. He is fine company.

1111 - John Birmingham (1)

Many years later my kids are talking about Dr Pepper at the corner store. I’ve recently come out of hospital after a bad turn. My memory is popping. I remember my first Dr Pepper. It was in the Recreation (REC) Room on the USS Tarawa.

The ship is so big it has its own PX (Exchange) store. We all buy souvenirs. I buy a pair of Oakley’s which I’ll never wear. My best friend and I smash the old-school arcade games using quarters from our change. The Australian Navy has nothing like this. We watch the US Military news channel in the small cinema. I ask M* would he like a soft drink. I have a pocket full of quarters ready to go. I get him a Mountain Dew. I get myself a Dr Pepper.

As it turns out Dr Pepper is disgusting. Like drinking battery acid. Too much corn syrup, I think. I prefer the Mountain Dew. M* agrees to swap. The news channel bores us to tears so we go back to the couple of older arcade games the ship has. We chat with the Marines. I always think fondly of Marines after this trip. USMC. Hoorah! These guys have just recently sailed from Kuwait. We all get three-days liberty on this trip. Good times.

Before too long we get bored of arcade games. M* is excited to find out that the news is finish and they are now showing ‘In Living Color’. I’ve never heard of it but before long I’m giggling away like an idiot. Jim Carrey and the Wayan boys. Some USMC lads join us. They are amazed that this is one of M*’s favourite shows. White guys shouldn’t like that sort of humour, but we do. Australians are ok, they say. We are all talking shit by now. One of marines offers to buy us a round of soft drinks.

“Don’t make it Dr Pepper mate, that stuff will kill ya”, I say.

Everybody guffaws. The Yanks love our accent. Semper Fi.


Random Analytica: The United States of Violence

Two must read stories this week. CNN have listed the top mass shootings in the US since 1949 and The New York Times put together a thoughtful piece on how the shooters were able to obtain their weapons.

After the Port Arthur massacre in 1996 where 35 were killed by a deranged shooter Australia introduced sweeping gun control laws and removed access to military grade weapons. Since that time we have not had one mass shooting incident yet the United States of America continues to have mass shootings and the body counts are escalating.

It is my very strong view that civilians don’t need military grade weapons, bump stocks and silencers. Full-stop.

For my part I have put together an infographic on the nine worst mass shootings by an individual in the United States since 1949 which now includes the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings and highlights the array of military grade weapons utilised by the perpetrators.

Each weapon represents those killed.

This is done in solidarity with the kids of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who are peacefully protesting against the gun culture in America today. I hope for their sake that they rid American streets of military grade weapons and end the culture mass shootings.


Random Analytica: Most Cumulative Time In Space

I was in a discussion with the kids over the weekend over who had spent the most time in space. Astronaut Peggy Whitson broke a number of records for Team USA late last year but interestingly the board is stacked with Soviets, then Russians who comprise 90% of the top-10 and 80% of the top-50 given they have operated space stations since 1971 (starting with Salyut-1).

That discussion turned into a quick Top-10 chart.


Note: M1-M6 represents separate mission flight times. The Soviet Union flag has been used for those cosmonauts who were accepted into the space program prior to 1991.

Random Analytica: Dow Jones Industrial Average closes up 567-points (+2.3%)

A lot of talk yesterday about the big losses experienced on Wall Street with the Dow Jones down 1,175-points, the first time that index has declined by more than 1,000-points in a single day.

Crash, tumble and wipe-out were utilised frequently across news channels and social media. The #TrumpSlump hashtag was overutilised by many who really don’t understand markets.

In relative terms yesterday’s Dow Jones numbers were not the worst day of historical trading although they did break the previous point’s loss record. In fact, it didn’t even rate in the top 100 of trading day points losses. My thoughts are here along with a couple of charts.

Today the conversation is all about volatility as the Dow Jones returned almost half of yesterday’s losses.

In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had its 4th best day on record (in terms of points gained). Here is the updated top 20 chart.


To get within ‘coo-wee’ of needing to update the Biggest One-Day % Gains chart we would need a +7% increase which would equate to an approximate 1,750-point gain in a single day.

With volatility returning to the markets we might get more updates to this chart in coming weeks.