- The Chicago Tribune reports that Cho Seung Hui, the Virginia
Tech shooter who killed 32 fellow students in a shooting rampage, was taking
antidepressant drugs. This is not the first time a school shooting rampage
has been linked to antidepressants. The infamous Colombine High shootings
took place almost exactly eight years ago, and the shooters in that rampage
were also -- you guessed it -- taking antidepressant drugs. What is it
about antidepressant drugs that provokes young men to pick up pistols,
rifles and shotguns, then violently assault their classmates? Clearly,
there's something wrong with the mind of anyone who engages in such violent
acts. Could the drugs be "imbalancing" their minds, priming them
- The answer is a very sobering, "Yes, they could
be." As we reported in a previous NewsTarget article on Paxil:
- Researchers from Cardiff University in Britain and the
Cochrane Centre examined data on Paxil -- or its generic form, paroxetine
-- from GlaxoSmithKline, legal cases and emails from nearly 1,400 patients
who responded to a British TV program on antidepressants. The researchers
found that 60 out of 9,219 people taking Paxil -- 0.65 percent -- experienced
a "hostility event," compared to 20 out of 6,455 patients taking
placebo, or 0.31 percent.
- In that same article, published in September, 2006, I
stated, "This finding helps explain why school shootings are almost
always conducted by children who are taking antidepressants. We also know
that SSRIs cause children to disconnect from reality. When you combine
that with a propensity for violence, you create a dangerous recipe for
school shootings and other adolescent violence."
- Sadly, that explanation rings true once again with the
Virginia Tech shooting. Wherever we see school violence, antidepressant
drugs seem to found at the scene of the crime. The correlation is not coincidence.
There is a causal link between the two.
- The links between antidepressants and violence are well
documented A study published in the Public Library of Science Medicine
(an open source medical journal) explored these same links in detail.
- (See:Antidepressants and Violence: Problems at the Interface
of Medicine and Law, by David Healy, Andrew Herxheimer, David B. Menkes)
- The authors note that "Some regulators, such as
the Canadian regulators, have also referred to risks of treatment-induced
activation leading to both self-harm and harm to others" and the "United
States labels for all antidepressants as of August 2004 note that 'anxiety,
agitation, panic attacks, insomnia, irritability, hostility, aggressiveness,
impulsivity, akathisia (psychomotor restlessness), hypomania, and mania
have been reported in adult and pediatric patients being treated with antidepressants
for major depressive disorder as well as for other indications, both psychiatric
- In other words, the link between antidepressants and
violence has been known for years by the very people manufacturing, marketing
or prescribing the drugs. As the author of the study mentioned above concluded,
"The new issues highlighted by these cases need urgent examination
jointly by jurists and psychiatrists in all countries where antidepressants
are widely used."
- That was last year, well before this latest shooting.
The warning signs were there, and they've been visible for a long time.
Medical authorities can hardly say they are "shocked" by this
violent behavior. After all, the same pattern of violence among antidepressant
takers has been observed, documented and published in numerous previous
- How To Stop The Violence
- Following this recent episode of violence, some Americans
are renewing calls for gun control. But I ask, isn't it time we looked
at antidepressants control? Why do we continue to drug up young people
in this country with psychotropic drugs that we know are closely associated
with violent outbursts?
- Giving young men antidepressant drugs is, in my opinion,
just like building silent timebombs and waiting around for one to suddenly
go off. Chemically assaulting these young, troubled brains with powerful
drugs -- while denying them real mental health solutions based on nutrition
-- is the bread and butter of modern psychiatry, an industry that in my
opinion has sold its soul to drug companies and now serves primarily as
a glorified system of legalized drug dealers that preys upon children and
- That doesn't mean the doctor or psychiatrist who prescribed
the antidepressants is directly responsible for the violence committed
by Cho Seung Hui, but they may have very well played a key role in destabilizing
the mind of a young man who was on the verge of insanity. You don't give
another shot of whisky to a drunk driver, and you shouldn't prescribe antidepressants
to troubled young men. Especially when there are weapons lying around.
- (Click the cartoon for the full-sized version.)How many
more Americans will be killed by pharmaceuticals?
- FDA-approved prescription drugs kill 100,000 Americans
- Sadly, these 32 dead students at Virginia Tech now join
the list of those killed by pharmaecutical side effects. And yet nobody
in the mainstream media seems to be reporting about the drugs.
- Don't you find it curious that when 100,000+ Americans
are killed in their homes and beds each year, dying from heart attacks
and strokes caused by pharmaceuticals, there's virtually no news coverage,
but when mind-altering drugs cause a student to pick up guns and blow away
32 classmates, it's suddenly front-page news everywhere? The reason is
because there's violence involved, and violence gets ratings for news organizations.
- Another interesting point in all this is that a Korean
diplomat contacted the Bush Administration to offer his condolences. Does
this seem a bit strange to anyone else? The student was an American citizen,
and he had lived in America for many years. In fact, he got put on antidepressant
drugs in America, following the same fraudulent system of medicine that
is uniquely American in the degree of harm it causes people. If anybody
should be picking up the phone and apologizing, it's the U.S. diplomats
who should be apologizing to the world for exporting death, disease and
western medicine. Drug companies should be apologizing to the families
of those who died, as well as to the family of the shooter. And the doctor
or psychiatrist who prescribed these drugs to Cho Seung should be apologizing
to everybody. Where is the apology from the drug companies who manufacture
these chemicals that kill?
- The question I'm asking is: Who's really at fault here?
Sure, it's primarily the person who pulled the trigger. But it's also the
companies and FDA regulators who allowed dangerous, violence-inducing chemicals
to be prescribed to the person who pulled the trigger. "Chemically-induced
violence," I call it. And antidepressant drugs make it so much easier
for the shooter because they make people feel dissociated from reality.
One of the Colombine shooters said it was all, "like a video game."
- Or, as described in shocking detail in the PLoS Medicine
study mentioned above, a 12 year old boy was being drugged with antidepressants
when the following took place. As reported: (emphasis added)
- The independent forensic report on the case notes CP
as saying that that night: "something told me to shoot them".
He had initially reported this to be hallucinations and then said he thought
it was his own thoughts. When asked to specifically describe what the experience
was like, he said it was "like echoes in my head saying 'kill, kill',
like someone shouting in a cave".
- According to the forensic report, "He reported this
began happening after he went to bedHe reported he had never considered
harming his grandparents before and this was unlike anything he had previously
experienced. He reported that the voices were coming from inside his head
and they bothered him so much that he got up. He reported that the voices
continued until he killed his grandparents. He reported that he couldn't
control himself and reported the echoes stopped after he shot his grandparents.
He set fire to the house but could not explain these actions saying the
thoughts just popped up". He then took a vehicle and began driving
but reported that he had no idea where he was going and that it all felt
like a dream. He recalled asking the police about his grandparents after
he was picked up because he was not sure if it had really happened or not.
- My heart goes out to those who died... ALL of them.
- Yes, I mourn the dead. Do not mistake my skeptical thinking
with a lack of compassion for those individuals and families traumatized
by this event. But unlike most tabloid reporters, I don't end my story
with the 32 dead at Virginia Tech. I mourn the 100,000 Americans killed
every year by FDA-approved prescription drugs, and the millions more killed
all around the world by pharmaceuticals, regardless of whether they were
killed in a headline-grabbing act of extreme violence. And unless we restrict
the use of antidepressant drugs and find a way to help young men achieve
genuine mental health through nutrition, sunlight, and avoidance of toxic
chemicals, mark my words: We will see more antidepressant-induced violence
- The shootings will not stop until the pills are banned.
- You can bank on it. The next attempted shooting is likely
only days or weeks away.
- If we want to end this violence, we must end the chemical
warfare being waged against the minds of our young men and children by
the drug companies.
- Study summary:
- Here's the summary of the study, mentioned above, published
in PLoS Medicine:
- Recent regulatory warnings about adverse behavioural
effects of antidepressants in susceptible individuals have raised the profile
of these issues with clinicians, patients, and the public. We review available
clinical trial data on paroxetine and sertraline and pharmacovigilance
studies of paroxetine and fluoxetine, and outline a series of medico-legal
cases involving antidepressants and violence. Both clinical trial and pharmacovigilance
data point to possible links between these drugs and violent behaviours.
The legal cases outlined returned a variety of verdicts that may in part
have stemmed from different judicial processes. Many jurisdictions appear
not to have considered the possibility that a prescription drug may induce
violence. The association of antidepressant treatment with aggression and
violence reported here calls for more clinical trial and epidemiological
data to be made available and for good clinical descriptions of the adverse
outcomes of treatment. Legal systems are likely to continue to be faced
with cases of violence associated with the use of psychotropic drugs, and
it may fall to the courts to demand access to currently unavailable data.
The problem is international and calls for an international response.