Between 1996 and 2005 the use of antidepressants among Americans has doubled. By 2005 there were approximately 27 million people with prescriptions for antidepressant pharmaceuticals. A leading drug research firm recently reported that more than 164 million prescriptions were written in 2008 for antidepressants, totaling $9.6 billion in U.S. sales. A series of clinical trials in 2003 showed that antidepressants
increased the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors in children and teens. After the 2003 study public health warnings on use of antidepressant drugs began to appear. Dr. Mark Olfson of Columbia University and Steven Marcus of the University of Pennsylvania wrote in the Archives of General Psychiatry that "Not only are more U.S. residents being treated with antidepressants, but also those who are being treated are receiving more antidepressant prescriptions."