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Another Mass Shooting, Another Psychiatric Drug? Federal Investigation Long Overdue

Health & Wellness  (tags: abuse, americans, drugs, healthcare, mental illness, over use of drugs, prevention, protection, research, science, study, treatment, warning )

- 1656 days ago -
There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence. 22 International drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation.


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Kit B (276)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 7:49 am
Photo Credit: CCHR --- Colorado shooter James Holmes was under the care of psychiatrist Lynne Fenton prior to the shootings. Police found antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs in Holmes apartment.

Fact: Despite 22 international drug regulatory warnings on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation, and dozens of high profile shootings/killings tied to psychiatric drug use, there has yet to be a federal investigation on the link between psychiatric drugs and acts of senseless violence.

Fact: At least 31 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence have been committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in 162 wounded and 72 killed (in other school shootings, information about their drug use was never made public—neither confirming or refuting if they were under the influence of prescribed drugs).

Fact: Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects including: 1,531 cases of homicidal ideation/homicide, 3,287 cases of mania & 8,219 cases of aggression. Note: The FDA estimates that less than 1% of all serious events are ever reported to it, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.

Fact: It took months for the release of information showing that police had found psychiatric drugs in the apartment of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, James Holmes—including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft. And despite official, legal requests for the release of Sandy Hook school shooter Adam Lanza’s toxicology reports and medical history to ascertain whether psychiatric drugs played a role in the school massacre, the office of the Connecticut medical examiner has refused to release this crucial information to the public, prompting a parent’s rights organization to take the matter to court.

Of the 31 people who committed acts of violence that were documented to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs, ten were seeing either a psychiatrist or psychologist. See the list of school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence by those on psychiatric drugs here.

School-related acts of violence aren’t the only cases commonly found to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs. There are 16 other recent acts of senseless violence committed by individuals taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs resulting in an additional 61 dead and 32 wounded.

Click image to read MANIA—The shocking link between psychiatric drugs, suicide, violence and mass murder

There have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions. These warnings have been issued in the United States, European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

In determining what would prompt a person to commit such brutal and senseless crimes, the press must ask the right questions, including: What, if any, prescribed psychotropic drugs the perpetrator may have been on (or in withdrawal from).

Read the international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions.

See the recent study from PLoS One here on psychiatric drugs being linked to violence.

Watch this short interview with Michael Moore, author, director and producer of Bowling for Columbine, where he calls for a federal investigation into the link between prescribed drugs and mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine massacre.

At least 31 school shootings and/or school-related acts of violence were committed by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs. It is important to note the following lists cases where the information about the shooters psychiatric drug use was made public.

It took months for the release of information showing that police had found psychiatric drugs in the apartment of Aurora Colorado movie theater shooter, James Holmes—including the anti-anxiety drug clonazepam and the antidepressant sertraline, the generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft.

Note that all these mass shootings didn’t just occur in the United States.

Of these 31, ten were seeing either a psychiatrist (8 of them) or psychologist (2 of them). It is not known whether or not the others were seeing a psychiatrist, as it has not been published.

1.) St. Louis, Missouri – January 15, 2013: 34-year-old Sean Johnson walked onto the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts campus and shot the school’s financial aid director once in the chest, then shot himself in the torso. Johnson had been taking prescribed drugs for an undisclosed mental illness.

2) Snohomish County, Washington – October 24, 2011: A 15-year-old girl went to Snohomish High School where police alleged that she stabbed a girl as many as 25 times just before the start of school, and then stabbed another girl who tried to help her injured friend. Prior to the attack the girl had been taking “medication” and seeing a psychiatrist. Court documents said the girl was being treated for depression.

3) .Planoise, France – December 13, 2010: A 17-year-old youth held twenty pre-school children and their teacher hostage for hours at Charles Fourier preschool. The teen was reported to be on “medication for depression”. He took a classroom hostage with two swords. Eventually, all the children and the teacher were released safely.

4) .Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – September 21, 2011: 14-year-old Christian Helms had two pipe bombs in his backpack, when he shot and wounded Socastee High School’s “resource” (police) officer. However the officer was able to stop the student before he could do anything further. Helms had been taking drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and depression.

5) .Huntsville, Alabama – February 5, 2010: 15-year-old Hammad Memon shot and killed another Discover Middle School student Todd Brown. Memon had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs for the conditions.” He had been seeing a psychiatrist and psychologist.

6.) Kauhajoki, Finland – September 23, 2008: 22-year-old culinary student Matti Saari shot and killed 9 students and a teacher, and wounded another student, before killing himself. Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazapine. He was also seeing a psychologist.

7) .Fresno, California – April 24, 2008: 17-year-old Jesus “Jesse” Carrizales attacked the Fresno high school’s officer, hitting him in the head with a baseball bat. After knocking the officer down, the officer shot Carrizales in self-defense, killing him. Carrizales had been prescribed Lexapro and Geodon, and his autopsy showed that he had a high dose of the antidepressant Lexapro in his blood that could have caused him to be paranoid, according to the coroner.

8.) Dekalb, Illinois – February 14, 2008: 27-year-old Steven Kazmierczak shot and killed five people and wounded 21 others before killing himself in a Northern Illinois University auditorium. According to his girlfriend, he had recently been taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien. Toxicology results showed that he still had trace amount of Xanax in his system. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.

9) Jokela, Finland – November 7, 2007: 18-year-old Finnish gunman Pekka-Eric Auvinen had been taking antidepressants before he killed eight people and wounded a dozen more at Jokela High School in southern Finland, then committed suicide.

10) Texas – November 7, 2007: 17-year-old Felicia McMillan returned to her former Robert E. Lee High School campus and stabbed a male student and wounded the principle with a knife. McMillan had been on drugs for depression, and had just taken them the night before the incident.

11) Cleveland, Ohio – October 10, 2007: 14-year-old Asa Coon stormed through his school with a gun in each hand, shooting and wounding four before taking his own life. Court records show Coon had been placed on the antidepressant Trazodone.

12) Sudbury, Massachusetts – January 19, 2007: 16-year-old John Odgren stabbed another student with a large kitchen knife in a boy’s bathroom at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. In court his father testified that Odgren was prescribed the drug Ritalin.

13) North Vernon, Indiana – December 4, 2006: 16-year-old Travis Roberson stabbed another Jennings County High School student in the neck, nearly severing an artery. Roberson was in withdrawal from Wellbutrin, which he had stopped taking days before the attack.

14) Hillsborough, North Carolina – August 30, 2006: 19-year-old Alvaro Rafael Castillo shot and killed his father, then drove to Orange High School where he opened fire. Two students were injured in the shooting, which ended when school personnel tackled him. His mother said he was on drugs for depression.

15.) Chapel Hill, North Carolina – April 2006: 17-year-old William Barrett Foster took a shotgun to school and took a teacher and a fellow student hostage at East Chapel Hill High School. After being talked out of shooting the hostages, Foster fired two shots through a classroom window before fleeing the school on foot. Foster’s father testified that his son had stopped taking his antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs without telling him.

16) Red Lake, Minnesota – March 21, 2005: 16-year-old Jeff Weise, on Prozac, shot and killed his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 5 students, a security guard, and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself.

17) Greenbush, New York – February 2004: 16-year-old Jon Romano strolled into his high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. Romano had been taking “medication for depression”. He had previously seen a psychiatrist.

18) Red Lion, Pennsylvania – February 2, 2001: 56-year-old William Michael Stankewicz entered North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School with a machete, leaving three adults and 11 children injured. Stankewicz was taking four different drugs for depression and anxiety weeks before the attacks.

19) Ikeda, Japan – June 8, 2001: 37-year-old Mamoru Takuma, wielding a 6-inch knife, slipped into an elementary school and stabbed eight first- and second-graders to death while wounding at least 15 other pupils and teachers. He then turned the knife on himself but suffered only superficial wounds. He later told interrogators that before the attack he had taken 10 times his normal dose of antidepressants.

20) Wahluke, Washington – April 10, 2001: Sixteen-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. He had been taking the antidepressant Effexor.

21) El Cajon, California – March 22, 2001: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman, on the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor, opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School. He had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.

22) .Williamsport, Pennsylvania – March 7, 2001: 14-year-old Elizabeth Bush was taking the antidepressant Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.

23) Oxnard, California – January 2001: 17-year-old Richard Lopez went to Hueneme High School with a gun and shot twice at a car in the school’s parking lot before taking a female student hostage. Lopez was eventually killed by a SWAT officer. He had been prescribed Prozac, Paxil and “drugs that helped him go to sleep.”

24) Conyers, Georgia – May 20, 1999: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with the stimulant Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.

25.) Columbine, Colorado – April 20, 1999: 18-year-old Eric Harris and his accomplice, Dylan Klebold, killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 26 others before killing themselves. Harris was on the antidepressant Luvox. Klebold’s medical records remain sealed. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. Harris had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting.

26) Notus, Idaho – April 16, 1999: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed antidepressant and Ritalin.

27) Springfield, Oregon – May 21, 1998: 15-year-old Kip Kinkel murdered his parents and then proceeded to school where he opened fire on students in the cafeteria, killing two and wounding 25. Kinkel had been taking the antidepressant Prozac. Kinkel had been attending “anger control classes” and was under the care of a psychologist.

28) Blackville, South Carolina – October 12, 1995: 15-year-old Toby R. Sincino slipped into the Blackville-Hilda High School’s rear entrance, where he shot two Blackville-Hilda High School teachers, killing one. Then Toby killed himself moments later. His aunt, Carolyn McCreary, said he had been undergoing counseling with the Department of Mental Health and was taking Zoloft for emotional problems.

29) Chelsea, Michigan – December 17, 1993: 39-year-old chemistry teacher Stephen Leith, facing a disciplinary matter at Chelsea High School, shot Superintendent Joseph Piasecki to death, shot Principal Ron Mead in the leg, and slightly wounded journalism teacher Phil Jones. Leith was taking Prozac and had been seeing a psychiatrist.

30) Houston, Texas – September 18, 1992: 44-year-old Calvin Charles Bell, reportedly upset about his second-grader’s progress report, appeared in the principal’s office of Piney Point Elementary School. Bell fired a gun in the school, and eventually wounded two officers before surrendering. Relatives told police on Friday that Bell was an unemployed Vietnam veteran and had been taking anti-depressants.

31) Winnetka, Illinois – 20 May 1988: 30-year-old Laurie Wasserman Dann walked into a second grade classroom at Hubbard Woods School in Winnetka, Illinois carrying three pistols and began shooting children, killing an eight-year-old boy, and wounding five others before fleeing. She entered a nearby house where she shot and wounded a 20-year-old man before killing herself. Dann had been seeing a psychiatrist and subsequent blood tests revealed that at the time of the killings, she was taking the antidepressant Anafranil.

The correlation between psychiatric drugs and acts of violence and homicide is well documented – both by international drug regulatory warnings and studies, as well as by hundreds of cases where high profile acts of violence/mass murder were committed by individuals under the influence of psychiatric drugs.

---The New York State Senate recognized this as far back as 2000, introducing a bill which would “require police to report to the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), certain crimes and suicides committed by persons using psychotropic drugs,” citing “a large body of scientific research establishing a connection between violence and suicide and the use of psychotropic drugs.” --

22 international drug regulatory warnings have been issued on psychiatric drugs citing effects of mania, hostility, violence and even homicidal ideation.

Unfortunately that bill stalled out in the finance committee. By reviewing the international drug regulatory warnings, studies, and adverse reaction reports submitted to the US FDA below, it is evident that the reintroduction of the New York bill is needed on a federal level in order to determine just how many crimes and acts of violence are being committed by individuals under the influence of drugs documented to induce violence, mania, psychosis, aggression, hostility and homicide.

As the world’s leading mental health watchdog, CCHR has for decades investigated hundreds of acts of senseless violence, working alongside investigative reporters, law enforcement, as well as legislative hearings, such as those held in Colorado following the 1999 Columbine massacre (ringleader Eric Harris was found to be under the influence of the antidepressant Luvox, Dylan Klebold’s autopsy reports were never unsealed).

And while there is never one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such unspeakable acts, all too often one common denominator has surfaced in hundreds of cases—prescribed psychiatric drugs which are documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and in some cases, homicidal ideation. It is an injustice that the general public are not being informed about the well documented links between psychiatric drugs and violence, and so once again we present the facts:

*** Additional 16 examples at Site with videos ****

As far back as 1991, CCHR, along with numerous experts brought evidence before the US FDA that antidepressants were causing suicide and violence. The heavily Pharma-funded FDA panel ignored the evidence provided, and it would take 14 years, and a great deal of public pressure, for the FDA to finally issue it’s strongest warning, the black box, on antidepressants inducing suicidal ideation. 21 years later, the FDA has yet to issue a black box warning on antidepressants and other classes of psychiatric drugs documented by international regulatory agencies and studies to cause violence. This is not in the public’s interest, who deserve to be warned, it’s in Big Phama’s interest, upon whose funding the FDA heavily relies on.

CCHR International Mental Health Watch Dog

Lydia S (155)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 7:55 am
The RX companies have deep pockets and will block an investigation meanwhile half the American public
is medicated , out of say a dozen women I know half are on antidepressants ,
I think the Doctors are being taught the meds are the fix , not perhaps a vitamin deficiency
life stresses or anything other than you're sad a lot ,we have a pill for that .
Once on these dugs the brain chemistry begins to change and the drug is truly necessary .

. (0)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 10:15 am
What was that I was saying about the connection between Statins and shootings a year ago?

Deb E (63)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 12:26 pm
Doctors are owned by the pharmaceutical companies. This is a fact. Pharmaceutical companies write the medical books and give grants to medical schools. Doctors are taught to treat symptoms with drugs, not to treat causes of diseases. If doctors found the cause of diseases, we'd have no pharmaceutical industry. And most insurance companies are heavily invested in pharmaceuticals, so of course they pay exorbitant prices for them. The shooter at Ft Hood, just recently, was on a drug (ambien) well known to cause people to do things they wouldn't normally do, sometimes in their sleep!! The brain is the first organ to show hormone imbalances. Doctors would do well to learn a little more about the endocrine system and figure out where the system failure is and treat with proper hormones before they prescribe these kinds of drugs.

There are people right now rotting in jail for murder, murder they had no recollection of committing, that they committed while under the influence of prescribed anti-depressant/anti-psychotic drugs known to cause a propensity for suicidal thoughts and extreme rage. The pharmaceutical companies who made these drugs should be the ones in prison but, while corporations do have freedom of speech, they can't go to jail like the rest of the people can.

Lois Jordan (63)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 2:29 pm
Noted w/thanks for posting, Kit. Great comment by Deb E. (above). I've been personally aware of this since my friend called me 10 yrs. ago after seeing a shrink who gave her many meds: Ambien, Wellbutrin, Lithium...and a couple others I can't remember. Phone conversations after that were extremely weird....she had an affair, left her husband & kids, had an abortion (which was strange because she was previously a "somewhat" devout Xtian)...and then we lost contact. So, I hope she ended up OK; but I knew the combination of drugs she was prescribed had a terrible effect on her. I learned my lesson and got off Prozac that had been prescribed for me, and now just avoid doctors and use herbs and homeopathic remedies. But, this is an issue that definitely needs to be addressed on a national (and rational) level.

JL A (281)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 2:43 pm
One additional question that might make a difference in outcomes. The Physicians Desk Reference to Drugs (PDR) indicates that blood level monitoring should be done for most all of these psychotropic drugs to ensure proper dosage for therapeutic intents is present and for many indicates even more needed for juveniles whose absorption rates are apt to differ from adults. How many of these persons taking the drugs were actually receiving the recommended monitoring (to ensure appropriate dosage adjustments)? Were any of the doctors wanting to do so turned down by the PPO or insurance company?
Quality assurance in this area of medicine should be looking at degree of compliance with these recommendations (especially for those taking more than one drug where the warnings indicate that the second drug can increase or reduce the blood level/efficacy).

Vallee R (280)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 2:50 pm
I agree with the comments above but think something also has changed - I was on Prozac - a med for depression maybe 10 years ago and didn't work for me then - not depressed now - but I never felt suicidal etc.. I truly believe that the pharmaceutical companies are putting something new into these drugs -

Joanne Dixon (38)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 3:12 pm
JL's caveat is right on the money. When will we learn that people are not all the same? It really just isn't possible to say this drug will do this or that drug will do that because any drug will react differently in different people. This kind of article always terrifies me because at 68 I have had so many remedies removed from the market which actually worked for me because people decided they were "dangerous" in some way, and I have never found satisfactory replacements for any of them. To name just a few, bromines, quinine, hexachlorophene, pseudoephedrine (not dangerous to the person who takes it as medication, granted; but dangerous to the community), even Kaopectate (yes, I know the brand is still around, but it's not the same stuff). Now do you want to take away my wellbutrin and my husband's paxil, which helps me prevent suicide and helps him control his aggressive impulses? Please! Lay off!

I might also note that finding substances in someone's living quarters is NOT the same as finding them in the person's body. From what it says in the article, how do we know Holmes was even taking those drugs? He might have been prescribed them and been non-compliant, a very common occurrence with psych drugs, some more than others.

Barbara K (62)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 3:24 pm
I haven't had any experience with depression, but from what I do know from others, these drugs are dangerous. Thank you, my friend.

pam w (139)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 3:50 pm
And yet...what to do? Some people are helped by these drugs....some families are held together due to these drugs...some people would be DEAD without these drugs!

It's a question about it.

marie C (163)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 3:55 pm

can only repeat what Barbara and Pam have commented
Its a dilemma
Thanks Kit

Birgit W (160)
Saturday April 5, 2014, 7:16 pm
Thanks for the article.

Inge Bjorkman (199)
Sunday April 6, 2014, 12:44 am
I wonder if Hitler or Stalin used any drug


Past Member (0)
Sunday April 6, 2014, 3:43 am
I take Clonazepam as a muscle relaxant and sedative - but it makes me sleep, not go out and kill people. I wonder if these people are not given the drugs to prevent this from happening. Perhaps they don't take it and that's the problem.

Kit B (276)
Sunday April 6, 2014, 10:32 am

Hitler is believed to have used a multi-drug cocktail. Amphetamines and sleeping concoctions, according to interpretations of his doctors journal, though I do not see the connection to this article.

John the drug or pill is not the problem as much as giving these prescriptions in place of effective and ongoing talk therapy and no less than monthly checks on blood levels of the drugs. These are psychotropic drugs and yet are handed out as easily as breath mints. For those suffering from mental illness each drug may have a very different affect to their mental perceptions.

So far we have reliable postmortem testing and information to verify that indeed these shooters were using their medications, but few had follow up blood tests; as is the norm, to know if they were at therapeutic levels. Very few were in weekly therapy sessions. We must treat these drugs as dangerous without constant monitoring. The pills alone will not resolve the underlying problems.

JL A (281)
Sunday April 6, 2014, 12:01 pm
Also, Ohio, and perhaps other states, had Medicaid rules that limited treatment to taking the drugs--no coverage for any talk therapy; this is supposed to change with the Mental Health Parity Act that passed before ACA which is enacted as a part of the coverage mandates of ACA,

Athena F (131)
Sunday April 6, 2014, 2:08 pm
that would explain a lot.
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