School Shootings and Psychiatric Drugs

by on March 2, 2012

“The death toll rose to three Tuesday in the shooting rampage in an Ohio high school cafeteria as schoolmates and townspeople grappled with the tragedy and wondered what could have set the teenage gunman off (footnote 1). ”

NOTE: Updated article here: school-shootings-and-psychiatric-drugs-update

Recently, Thomas Lane, the latest member of a large and ever-growing club of school shooters, went on a rampage in the cafeteria at Chardon High School. Once again the media, the “townspeople,” politicians and most Americans, “grappled with the tragedy and wondered what could have set the teenage gunman off.” A few of us who know precisely what in fact “set the teenage gunman off” wonder about something more important – what must transpire before clueless Americans wake up to the cause of such senseless tragedies?

Even fewer of us are somehow masochistic enough to once again set forth the truth, knowing that as before, ignorance will probably win the day, and Thomas Lane’s difficult home situation, or his bullying classmates, or some kind of psychobabble fiction will emerge to explain away this horrendous event, so that it can be conveniently forgotten like all the other school shootings.

Religious justifications will be invoked to assuage those who are shocked and suffering from their tragic losses as they pray for answers. And if the actual answer as to “what could have set the teenage gunman off” does somehow find its way into print, I predict that history will repeat itself. Personal responsibility will be deflected for this and other tragedies, and the blame will immediately be shifted elsewhere so that the painful truth can be denied and remain hidden.

We only need to ask one simple question to determine “what could have set the teenage gunman off.” That question is: What psychiatric drug was he taking or withdrawing from? Sometimes simple questions are the hardest to ask. That question would be hard for the media to ask, because after reporting the event, taking station breaks for advertisements for antidepressants and sedatives might give big media editors and producers indigestion, since their very existence depends on Big Pharma sponsorship. That question would be hard for some politicians to ask because it might jeopardize Big Pharma campaign contributions (footnote 2). And that question might be hard for many Americans to ask because they are consuming psychiatric medications like candy.

School Violence

The following are reports of teens committing acts of school violence during an 18 year period from 1988-2006 (footnote 3), beginning only one year after the first SSRI antidepressant was approved for the U.S. market for adult use only. More than half of the teens committing these acts were taking SSRI antidepressants.

1. September 26, 1988, South Carolina: James Wilson, 19, went on a shooting spree in an elementary schoolyard in Greenwood, killing two 8 year olds, and wounding 7 other children and 2 teachers. He was taking Xanax and for the eight months prior to the shooting had been taking several psychiatric drugs.

2. October 1, 1997, Pearl, Mississippi: Luke Woodham, 16, shot two students to death and wounded seven others after beating and stabbing his mother to death. Public reports say the boy was taking Prozac.
3. December 1, 1997, West Paducah, Kentucky: 14-year-old Michael Carneal was on Ritalin, when he started firing a gun during a prayer meeting at a high school, killing three teens aged 14 to 17, and wounding five other students, including one who is paralyzed.

4. March 1998, Arkansas: Andrew Golden, 11, and cousin Mitchell Johnson, 13, went on a shooting spree at Westside Middle School in Arkansas, killing four students and one teacher. Nine students and a teacher were also wounded. In a review of the book Teenage Rampage: The Worldwide Youth Phenomenon, both boys were reported to be taking Ritalin.
5. May 21, 1998, Oregon: 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 22. Kinkel had been taking Prozac and an amphetamine.
6. Pocatello, Idaho: An unnamed 14 year old held 5 classmates hostage with a gun. He surrendered to the police and fortunately no one was hurt. He was taking Zoloft.

7. April 16, 1999, Idaho: 15-year-old Shawn Cooper fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a prescribed SSRI antidepressant and Ritalin.
8. April 29, 1999, Taber, Alberta: An unnamed 14-year-old student from W.R. Myers High School shot two students, killing one. He began taking prescribed Dexedrine immediately prior to the shooting.
9. April 20, 1999, Colorado: 18-year-old Eric Harris, the ringleader in the Columbine massacre was taking Luvox that the coroner confirmed was in his system through toxicology reports. He and his co-shooter, Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 23 others before killing themselves.
10. May 20, 1999, Georgia: 15-year-old T.J. Solomon was being treated with Ritalin when he opened fire on and wounded six of his classmates.
11. December 6, 1999, Fort Gibson, Oklahoma: 13-year-old Seth Trickey fired at least 15 shots at Fort Gibson Middle School wounding four classmates. He was undergoing psychological counseling and was probably being medicated, although those records are sealed.

12. March 7, 2000, Williamsport, Pennsylvania: Elizabeth Bush, 14, was taking Prozac when she shot at fellow students, wounding one.

13. January 10, 2001, Oxnard, California: A 17-year-old gunman fired shots at Hueneme High School before taking a female student hostage. He was later shot and killed by police. Prior to the shooting he had been treated for mental illness and was probably taking psychiatric drugs.
14. March 22, 2001, California: 18-year-old Jason Hoffman opened fire on his classmates, wounding three students and two teachers at Granite Hills High School. He had been prescribed the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor.
15. April 2001, Washington State: 16-year-old Cory Baadsgaard took a rifle to his high school and took 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. According to another student, “Cory was yelling and then he just stopped, looked down at the gun in his hand and woke up.” Fortunately, no one was hurt. Cory had been taking Effexor and had no memory of the incident.

16. January 2003, Elliot City, Maryland: Ryan T. Furlough, 19, killed a Centennial High School classmate by spiking his soda with cyanide. He was being treated with Effexor.

17. February 2004, Greenbush, New York: 16-year-old, Jon Romano strolled into Columbia high school in east Greenbush and opened fire with a shotgun. Special education teacher Michael Bennett was hit in the leg. The boy was treated with medication for depression.

18. March, 2005, Minnesota: Jeff Weise, 16, shot dead his grandparents, then went to his school on the Red Lake Indian Reservation where he shot dead 8 students and a teacher, and wounded 7 before killing himself. He was taking Prozac.
19. November 8, 2005, Jacksboro, Tennessee: Kenneth Bartley, a student in high school shot and killed an assistant principal. The principal and another assistant principal were wounded. He had previously spent about a year and a half in a residential juvenile treatment program, where he was likely prescribed psychiatric drugs.

20. August 30, 2006, Hillsborough, North Carolina: Alvaro Castillo, 19, killed his father, then opened fire at Orange High School, wounding two students before surrendering to police. He had been involuntarily treated in a state psychiatric hospital, and such commitment nearly always involves drugs.
21. October 10, 2006, Charleston, South Carolina: Tyrell Glover, 19, took an air rifle to Burke High School where he planned to hold students hostage and be gunned down by police. He had been taking an antidepressant for several years but his mother took him off the drug when she saw the listed side effects in ads. However, Tyrell began taking Prozac again for approximately six months. Whether he was taking a psychiatric drug or withdrawing from it at the time of this hostage/suicide plan is yet to be confirmed.

The number of drug-related school shootings are dwarfed by the number of non-school-related violent events associated with psychiatric medication use. Many school shooting cases have had their court documents sealed, especially if minors are involved, and the extent of the chemical use is often never revealed. The psychiatric drug-related violence noted in the cases above was discovered mostly by reporters who dug up the data, usually reporting it as an “incidental” finding!

Thomas Lane did not go to Chardon High, instead attending nearby Lake Academy, which is for students with academic or behavioral problems, making it extremely unlikely that he was not being medicated with psychiatric drugs. But we may never know if his records are sealed too, which I suspect often happens due to pressure from Big Pharma or from those politically positioned to benefit from the pharmaceutical companies money.

Socrates said, “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.” Yes, Lane’s acts of violence, as well as all the others listed above, is evil. However, I believe that a more fundamental evil is behind these school shootings – the pervasive ignorance about the power of psychiatric medication to worsen the very behaviors they are marketed to relieve, violence against oneself (suicide) and against others.

Drastically altering the function of brain chemistry with chemicals that life has never before encountered over vast eons of time, can’t not have unpredictable results, especially in children and teens who have not matured completely and don’t possess normal adult checks and balances on impulsivity. I am astonished that this obvious, scientific fact is still denied by most people. You don’t have to be a recovering drug or alcohol addict to admit that people who consume these chemicals are “powerless” over the consequences. You don’t have to be an expert physician and biochemist like me who has balanced the brain chemistries of many thousands of patients over 35 years using natural remedies.

The question is not “do psychiatric drugs cause violent behaviors?” The right question is, “how can these drugs not cause violent behaviors?”

The sooner you admit the truth, insist that your politicians wake up and devise rational policies about psychiatric medication use and abuse, and warn those in your inner circle of friends and family about this menace to civilization, the sooner we can reclassify psychiatric drugs as obsolete therapies and dispose of them in the trash bins of history.

Well, on second thought, we might need to be cautious about disposing these drugs because due to their widespread use and abuse, they have made their way into lakes, streams and other bodies of water, and are now in the drinking water in many municipalities (footnote 4). So watch out when you swim at your local lake or pond this summer, because some of the fish might be imbibing psychiatric-medications-laced water, and who knows what a trout driven into murderous, psychotic rage would be capable of!

NOTE: Updated article here: school-shootings-and-psychiatric-drugs-update

1) Kevin Begos and Thomas Sheeran (Tue, Feb 28, 2012), Death toll rises to 3 in Ohio school shooting, Associated Press
2) See Big Pharma opens wallet to Dems. Liberals have lost their reputation as the long-standing foes to drugmakers as party lines become blurred with McCain. By Aaron Smith, staff writer, Last Updated: March 7, 2008: 2:40 PM EST. “Democratic senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are the top recipients of donations from the pharmaceutical industry, according to The Center for Responsive Politics, a non-profit, non-partisan research group in Washington, D.C.”
3) Taken from Psychiatric Drugs And Anger Management Curricula—A Perspective on School Violence (2006) Citizens Commission on Human Rights, Appendix 1, pp. 15-18.
4) British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Sunday, 8 August, 2004. Prozac ‘found in drinking water’ – Traces of the antidepressant Prozac can be found in the nation’s drinking water, it has been revealed.

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School Shootings and Psychiatric Drugs Update |
December 16, 2012 at 12:12 am
School Shootings Linked to Pharmaceutical Drugs
December 17, 2012 at 4:53 pm
Do guns kill people or do perhaps psychoactive drugs kill people?
December 17, 2012 at 10:02 pm
December 28, 2012 at 7:29 am


Teran December 18, 2012 at 1:37 am

These SSRIs and SNRIs are very dangerous. Effexor and its clones cause EXTREME RAGE. My brother was prescribed it in high school. He got himself off of it because he felt extreme rage all the time on the drug. My cousin hates being on Effexor which she was prescribed at age 20. She is addicted. She said effexor causes her to want to hurt small animals. She throws up all the time. Effexor has caused her to become bi-polar. She quit school and can’t work. Effexor may be the most addictive drug on the market. Withdrawal causes extreme, extreme side effects. Why does our society allow these dangerous drugs on the market???? Depression can be treated with sunlight, vitamin D-3, exercise, fish oil, vitamins, and the correct amino acids, either L-phenylalanine, or L-tyrosine, or L-tryptophan. Our body uses amino acids and B vitamins to make thyroid hormone, or norepinephrine, or dopamine, or serotonin. Sometimes just getting enough protein and good fats and eating more Omega 3s and stopping Omega 6s and 9s can improve mood. It is no surprise that high schoolers or college freshman get so depressed. No sleep, bad diet, no sunlight! Wake up America–lets save ourselves and our children!!!!

Teran December 18, 2012 at 1:50 am

There is probably a connection between infection and mental illness. Google ‘PANDAS’ syndrome for information on children with strep infection who become withdrawn, militant, and compulsive. Severe mental illness can be caused when the spirochete bacteria that causes syphilis invades the brain.
Neurological lyme disease is also caused by a spirochete and causes brain illness. Did the Aurora shooter have Lyme?How much dementia and brain disease and rage and depression is caused by infection?????

Dan Nelson February 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm

I am a person with an inherited mental illness. My father who committed suicide IN 1968 had issues(long before any antidepressants were available). My mother who is bipolar and has been in mental institutions many times after her husbands death, but around 1975 was given lithium and it has helped her throughout the years up until a few years back and know takes an anti-depressant along with her lithium and is doing fine. I was diagnosed as schizoaffective about ten years back and about 7 years ago given risperdal and an anti-depressant(lexapro)and am doing fine now after about four or five hospitalizations. I had group therapy which also helped in my recovery. I just want to say that properly diagnosed and medicated and being monitored (because my moods would spiral downwards which is the reason I also take lexapro)along with talk therapy is helpful for many mentally disabled persons. So I would think carefully about all the mentally disabled people that are being helped by these prescribed drugs.

C.E. Gant February 2, 2013 at 11:49 pm

“The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.” Mark Twain

Before we knew the cause of infectious diseases, there were many effective treatments. But when germs were discovered, most infectious diseases were eventually found to be curable with antibiotics. Many resisted the germ theory, as many now resist integrative psychiatry which can go beyond merely managing the symptoms, as we once did for infectious diseases, to actually reversing the causal biochemical, toxicological, nutritional, metabolic and genetic risk factors, which allows us to cure mental illnesses.
C.E. Gant

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