Why isn’t our government investigating the connection between mind-altering drugs and violent shootings? Action Alert!
Recently, famed constitutional attorney Jonathan Emord called on the Trump administration to investigate the possible links between psychiatric drugs and violent gun attacks in the United States. The FDA is aware that these drugs can cause violent behavior, yet continues to allow powerful, mind-altering drugs to be given to millions of Americans, including children.
We’ve written previously about this very topic. We researched dozens of high-profile cases of violent crime over the last few decades, and found that in at least half of the cases, we know that the perpetrator was taking, or had recently stopped taking, some form of antidepressant or antipsychotic medication. It could well be 100% if all the information is made publicly available.
The most recent examples support this thesis. In the Las Vegas shooting, where Stephen Paddock killed 58 people and wounded hundreds of others, the autopsy showed he was using an anti-anxiety drug. Adam Lanza, the killer involved in the 2013 Sandy Hook school shooting, was suspected to have been on, or recently stopped taking, antipsychotic drugs; but as Emord details, the coroner would not release the deceased Lanza’s medical records. The killer in Parkland, Florida, Nikolas Cruz, is also suspected to have been on some kind of medication for “emotional difficulties,” according to a family member, but the specific drug has not yet been specified.
It’s well known that mind-altering drugs are linked with violent behavior. Many antidepressants carry black box warnings for increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior, but the FDA was reluctant to issue even that warning. “It has been decades since former FDA Medical Reviewer Andrew Mosholder alerted the FDA to the results of his post-market surveillance of psychiatric drugs,” Emord told ANH. “He determined those drugs increased the risk of suicide and violent behavior in children. The FDA ostracized him for those findings and suppressed his report. Years later, under significant pressure, the agency finally admitted the association and ordered a black box warning, but only for suicide, on the drugs. That warning has had little effect on limiting the extent of psychiatric prescriptions to kids. Indeed, at least one in five Americans use psychiatric medications.”
Not only are these mind-altering drugs dangerous, they can be ineffective for many people. Researchers analyzed the results of 34 clinical trials involving more than 5,000 children taking one of fourteen antidepressants. Only one of them worked to relieve the symptoms of depression. Whether these drugs help or not is still hotly debated, but there is no question they are also addictive, and seem to be linked to birth defects.
There are alternatives to psychiatric drugs. There is evidence to suggest that a low-carb ketogenic diet can prove as effective at treating mental disorders—without the devastating side effects of psychiatric drugs. Magnesium, B vitamins, SAMe, and other nutrients can make all the difference. Other alternatives include cognitive behavioral therapy, herbal treatments such as St. John’s wort, and simple exercise. None of these have been linked to birth defects.
Why does the FDA seem reluctant to explore the link between psychiatric drugs and violence? A clue could be in the numbers. The global market for antidepressant drugs is worth around $14.5 billion and estimated to surge to $16.8 billion by 2020; the global antipsychotics market is $11.7 billion, much of which is prescribed for conditions that have little to do with psychosis and which have very toxic side effects. That’s almost 30 billion reasons to keep the public ignorant about any connections between mind-altering drugs and violent behavior. Remember that the FDA appears to see the drug industry, not the public, as its client because drug industry user fees provide a substantial portion of the agency’s budget.
“I am not saying psychiatric drugs are the sole catalyst for school shootings,” Emord continued, “but I am saying that, by FDA’s own admission, they increase the incidence of suicidal thoughts and violent behavior in kids. Consequently, if we are not going to ban administration of the drugs to kids (which I think we should do), there should at least be a federal investigation into the association between the drugs and violent behavior. There should also be immediate steps undertaken by psychiatrists, school administrators, and parents to identify each child on these medications and to closely monitor them for any sign of violence, whereupon they should be removed from school and the drugs discontinued.”
This is just common sense. Before even more innocent people die, we need an honest assessment of the role psychiatric drugs play in this epidemic of violence.
Action Alert! Write to President Trump and Congress, urging a federal investigation into the link between psychiatric drugs and violent shootings. Please send your message immediately.