The important taboo question that the media and the police tend to ignore when dealing with mass murderers:

Gary G. Kohls, MD

What were the brain-altering
psych drugs that he might
have been taking or
withdrawing from?

Recurring mass shootings are a peculiarly American phenomenon, unless you count the carnage in the numerous nation-states recently invaded and destabilized by the American military. Everybody say in unison what we all should be thinking: “thank you National Rifle Association” and we also need to address that thanks to the lamentable weapons manufacturing lobbyist thugs who threaten into silence and inaction most of our elected officials in DC, Republican and Democrat, who can’t resist taking the bribery money.

Senseless violence” may
be totally understandable
if we are just given the
inconvenient facts

The most recent Colorado shooter’s actions would probably not be considered “senseless” if we knew the truth about everything that led up to the Aurora incident. A victim of Columbine High School’s Eric Harris (who was prescribed first Zoloft, then Luvox) seems to be promoting blind ignorance when he advised the current victims, and, presumably us, to not “waste time trying to figure out what motivated the shooter or shooters. It’s a waste of time, and it gives them exactly what they want (sic).”  And then he complained, “I don’t think I’ll ever understand.” He has learned to echo what is already being promoted: keep us all unaware and ignorant of what the real motives may have been; remain silent about painful truths; don’t expose any of the powers-that-be for their part in the long lead-up to the shootings.

Attitudes such as these will surely ensure that there will be many repeats in the future.

Recently I mentioned in this column the existence of a remarkable database of serious SSRI adverse effects (“selective” serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the so-called “second generation ‘antidepressants’”) that resulted in criminal acts that had been reported in the public domain. That website can be accessed at  HYPERLINK “”

When researching that important website, I realized that the vast majority of media reports on such seemingly irrational events usually don’t ask the question about what crazy-making drugs the perpetrators might have been taking - unless the drugs were illicit ones.

So the thousands of examples documented on that website represent just the tip of what surely is an enormous iceberg, since even the FDA estimates that up to 99% of adverse effects from any given drug are never reported to that agency.

What serious SSRI adverse effects is the PDR trying to warn us about when we prescribe antidepressants?

The Physicians’ Desk Reference (PDR) lists the following common adverse reactions to SSRI antidepressants (among a host of other physical and neuropsychiatric effects).  None of these adverse reactions is listed as Rare. 
Manic Reaction (Mania, e.g., Kleptomania, Pyromania, Dipsomania, Nymphomania)
Hypomania (e.g., poor judgment, over spending, impulsivity, etc.)
Abnormal Thinking
Personality Disorder
Abnormal Dreams
Emotional Lability
Alcohol Abuse and/or Craving
Paranoid Reactions
Sleep Disorders
Akathisia (Severe Inner Restlessness)
Withdrawal  Syndromes
It doesn’t take a genius to recognize that any of the above drug-induced mental aberrations could pass as mental illness.
      It should be emphasized that so-called adverse reactions are most likely to occur when starting or discontinuing the drug, increasing or lowering the dose or when switching from one SSRI to another.  Adverse reactions are often mis-diagnosed as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia or some other “mental illness of unknown origin” when the symptoms may be entirely iatrogenic (treatment induced). Withdrawal, especially abrupt withdrawal, from any of these medications can cause severe neuropsychiatric and physical symptoms that can also cause the above signs and symptoms. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these drugs, often over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified and experienced specialist, if available.  Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.
SSRI “adverse reactions” are actually expected, understandable and therefore should not be surprising to physicians. They are not actually “side effects”

So with the list of common adverse effects of these drugs above, I present below a “short list” of drug–associated violence over the past decade or two, perpetrated mostly by young people who were involved in newsworthy shootings and whose psych drugs were identified and, perhaps inadvertently, reported to the public.

Tragically, in the vast majority of psychiatric drug-related suicides, homicides or other types of irrational violence (what the media calls “senseless”) prescription drugs are generally not reported in the corporate-controlled and subsidized media, where pharmaceutical companies advertise heavily, certainly exerting influences on how much investigative journalism is allowed. He who calls the piper calls the tune.

The SSRI Stories website noted above has, among its nearly 5000 examples of psychiatric drug-induced violence, a list of 66 school shootings that are overwhelmingly and disproportionately American. That list of 66 is often accompanied by suicidality caused by either taking or withdrawing from the drugs. There has been an explosion of such incidents since the popularization of Prozac (released by Eli Lilly % Company onto an unsuspecting public in 1989).

Most of the developed world’s drug regulatory agencies, including the FDA, have not tested these psychotropic drugs for safety or efficacy in humans under the age of 18 (either short term or long term), and therefore those agencies have not approved their use for that group (with rare exceptions). Therefore we physicians, if we prescribe these untested drugs to that underage group (that is at a stage of immature brain development) we are doing so “off label”, thus exposing ourselves to medico-legal risks.

Here is the sobering list. Read it and weep – and then reassess what really needs to be done with background checks when someone with a clean criminal or mental illness record tries to purchase an automatic rifle that can shoot 60 rounds a minute.
Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Colombine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and 1 teacher, and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.

Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. 10 dead, 12 wounded.

Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.

Thirteen year-old Chris Fetters killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.

Twelve year-old Christopher Pittman murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.

Thirteen year-old Mathew Miller hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for 6 days.

Fifteen year-old Jarred Viktor stabbed his grandmother 61 times after 5 days on Paxil.

Fifteen year-old Kip Kinkel (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire killing 2 classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.

Luke Woodham age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.

A Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed stand off at his school.

Michael Carneal (Ritalin) a 14-year-old opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded..

A young man in Huntsville, Alabama (Ritalin) went psychotic chopping up his parents with an ax and also killing one sibling and almost murdering another.

Andrew Golden, age 11, (Ritalin) and Mitchell Johnson, aged 14, (Ritalin) shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others.

TJ Solomon, age 15, (Ritalin) high school student in Conyers, Georgia opened fire on and wounded six of his class mates.

Rod Mathews, age 14, (Ritalin) beat a classmate to death with a bat.

James Wilson, age 19, (various psychiatric drugs) from Breenwood, South Carolina, took a .22 caliber revolver into an elementary school killing two young girls, and wounding seven other children and two teachers.

Elizabeth Bush, age 13, (Paxil) was responsible for a school shooting in Pennsylvania
Jason Hoffman (Effexor and Celexa) - school shooting in El Cajon, California

Jarred Viktor, age 15, (Paxil), after five days on Paxil he stabbed his grandmother 61 times.

Chris Shanahan, age 15 (Paxil) in Rigby, ID who out of the blue killed a woman.

Jeff Franklin (Prozac and Ritalin), Huntsville, AL, killed his parents as they came home from work using a sledge hammer, hatchet, butcher knife and mechanic’s file, then attacked his younger brothers and sister.

Neal Furrow (Prozac) in LA Jewish school shooting reported to have been court-ordered to be on Prozac along with several other medications.
Kevin Rider, age 14, was withdrawing from Prozac when he died from a gunshot wound to his head. Initially it was ruled a suicide, but two years later, the investigation into his death was opened as a possible homicide.  The prime suspect, also age 14, had been taking Zoloft and other SSRI antidepressants.
Alex Kim, age 13, hung himself shortly after his Lexapro prescription had been doubled.  
Diane Routhier was prescribed Welbutrin for gallstone problems.  Six days later, after suffering many adverse effects of the drug, she shot herself.
Billy Willkomm, an accomplished wrestler and a University of Florida student, was prescribed Prozac at the age of 17.  His family found him dead of suicide – hanging from a tall ladder at the family’s Gulf Shore Boulevard home in July 2002.
Kara Jaye Anne Fuller-Otter, age 12, was on Paxil when she hung herself from a hook in her closet.  Kara’s parents said “.... the damn doctor wouldn’t take her off it and I asked him to when we went in on the second visit.  I told him I thought she was having some sort of reaction to Paxil…”)
Gareth Christian, Vancouver, age 18, was on Paxil when he committed suicide in 2002,

(Gareth’s father could not accept his son’s death and killed himself)

Julie Woodward, age 17, was on Zoloft when she hung herself in her family’s detached garage.

Matthew Miller was 13 when he saw a psychiatrist because he was having difficulty at school. The psychiatrist gave him samples of Zoloft.  Seven days after beginning the Zioloft, his mother found his body hanging by a belt from a laundry hook in his closet.
Kurt Danysh, age 18 and on Prozac, killed his father with a shotgun. He is now behind prison bars, and writes letters, trying to warn the world that SSRI drugs can kill.

Dr. Kohls is a retired physician who has painfully witnessed (in his practice of holistic mental health care) the soul- and psychic devastation of war, domestic violence, punitive parenting, malnutrition, homelessness, poverty and the serious potential dangers of the chronic and widespread use of psychotropic drugs. In his essays he tries to warn his readers about some of the physical, neurological, psychological and spiritual consequences of all forms of violence and neglect.