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Soldier Prescribed Controversial Anti-Malarial Drug Before Afghan Massacre

Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and Karilyn Bales
Today Show
Staff Sgt. Robert Bales and Karilyn Bales

Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, who recently pleaded guilty to the murder of 16 Afghan civilians, was prescribed a controversial anti-malarial drug called Lariam before the massacre. Lariam has been linked to aggression and psychotic behavior.

A report from the maker of Lariam (obtained by The Military Times) was sent to the Food and Drug Administration that read, in part:

“It was reported that this patient was administered mefloquine (Lariam) in direct contradiction to U.S. military rules that mefloquine should not be given to soldiers who had suffered traumatic brain injury due to its propensity to cross blood-brain barriers inciting psychotic, homicidal or suicidal behavior.”

Bales was diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury in 2010.


As Home Post previously reported, the bloody attack took place in the early morning hours of March 11, 2012. Prosecutors say Bales left his base in southern Afghanistan and attacked one village of sleeping Afghan civilians. He then returned to the base, only to leave again and attack another village.

Bales is scheduled to be sentenced for his crimes on August 19. No word if Bales' attorney, John Henry Browne, plans on using his client's use of Lariam as mitigating factor in his sentencing.