HOLLYWOOD stars Kirsty Alley and Kelly Preston have launched a public drive to restrict the use of anti-depressants and medicines they say can cause suicide and violence among children and teens.
The pair has joined a group of doctors who are pushing for US authorities to slap tougher warnings of their possible side-effects on prescription medicines such as the anti-depressants and drugs used to treat attention deficit disorder.
Both Alley and Preston, who is married to John Travolta, are members of the Church of Scientology that strongly opposes the use of psychiatric drugs.
"We can no longer sit back and let the clock tick, waiting for more deaths, suicides or people driven to violent acts by psychotropic drugs," the pair and a group of doctors opposed to the use of psychotropic drugs said in a letter to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"Parents in particular have been misled about the effects of these drugs," Alley said in a statement. "They are highly addictive; kids are using them more than street drugs to get high," she said.
The actresses said they were taking action to raise public awareness after the FDA warned that stimulants prescribed to six million US children can cause "hallucinations and psychotic, suicidal and violent behaviour".
But the actresses say that even stronger warnings are needed.
"Parents don't know that these drugs are turning kids into walking time bombs," said Preston.
"Eight out of the last 13 school shooters were taking prescribed psychiatric drugs, and only now is the FDA investigating the fact these drugs can cause violence," she said.
Fellow Scientologist and superstar Tom Cruise has been locked in a public row with actress Brooke Shields over the use and benefits of prescription drugs for depression.