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In a number of past Duty to Warn columns I have attempted to warn my readers about the connections between brain-altering drugs (both illicit and prescribed) and a multitude of abnormal behaviors that some of the people that take them become capable of engaging in, including acts of criminality, homicidal violence, and suicidality.
I have also attempted to warn readers about psychiatric drug neurotoxicity (brain poisoning), psychiatric drug-induced dementia (from chemical brain damage), psychiatric drug dependency/addiction, the reality of serious (even life-threatening) psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes, and the unholy alliance between the psychopharmaceutical industry, the FDA, and mainstream medicine.
This week’s article is simply a list of 50-plus cases of potentially lethal school violence (mostly shootings) recorded in the public domain since 1988 (the year before Prozac was introduced to the U.S. market) that were perpetrated by previously non-homicidal patients who were taking—or withdrawing from—prescription psychotropic drugs. Too often the drugs were not identified by brand name, nor were the names of previously ingested neurotoxic drugs mentioned, an important omission.
Please note that the list below is not a comprehensive one, partly because most authorities investigating such shootings do not make inquiries about such drugs or the prescribing physician, or they choose not to reveal what drugs might have been involved in the violence described. It is important to note that most coroners do not do brain assays for drugs. If they do post-mortem analyses for drugs at all, it is usually done on blood samples, which often have much shorter drug half-lives than brain tissues, so there may be false negative results. Also, in cases of drug withdrawal, there will usually be no positive assays for any drug.
For a much more comprehensive list of antidepressant drug-related violence, check out www.ssristories.org.
To read some of my previous columns on related topics, please check out the last 14 months of Duty to Warn columns, which are archived at http://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.
Recent School Shootings Linked to Psychopharmaceutical Drugs
May 20, 1988 - Winnetka, Illinois
Laurie Dann, age 30, walked into a second grade Hubbard Woods School classroom carrying three pistols and killed an 8-year-old and wounded five others before fleeing. Dann was taking the antidepressant Anafranil (Clomipramine) for “OCD.”
September 26, 1988 - Greenwood, South Carolina
James Wilson, age 19, shot and killed two 8-year-olds, wounding seven other children and two teachers in an elementary schoolyard. He was taking Xanax and several other psychiatric drugs.
September 17, 1992 - Houston, Texas
Calvin Charles Bell shot at students in the Piney Point Elementary School. Two officers suffered gunshot injuries. He was on antidepressants.
December 17, 1993 - Chelsea, Michigan
Steven Lieth, a Chelsea High School teacher, walked out of a staff meeting and returned with a gun, killing one staff member and wounding another. He had been taking antidepressants prescribed by a psychiatrist.
October 12, 1995 - Blackville, South Carolina
Toby Sincino killed two teachers at Blackville-Hilda High School and then killed himself. He was taking the SSRI Zoloft.
February 2, 1996 - Moses Lake, Washington
Barry Loukaitis, age 14, shot and killed two students and one teacher and wounded one student in his algebra class. He was taking Ritalin at the time of the shooting.
October 1, 1997 - Pearl, Mississippi
Luke Woodham, age 16, killed two students and wounded seven at Pearl High School. He was taking Prozac.
December 1, 1997 - West Paducah, Kentucky
Michael Carneal, age 14, killed three fellow students and wounded five others during a prayer meeting at a high school. He was on Ritalin.
March 24, 1998 - Jonesboro, Arkansas
Andrew Golden, age 11, and Mitchell Johnson, age 13, both students at Westside Middle School, shot and killed four students and one teacher. Nine students and another teacher were wounded. Both boys were on Ritalin.
April 9, 1998 - Pocatello, Idaho
Mitchell Gushwa held several staff and students hostage with a gun at Pocatello School. He was on Zoloft.
May 1, 1998 - Buffalo, New York
Juan Roman, age 37, an Erie County deputy sheriff, hunted down his estranged wife at their children’s elementary school in Buffalo and killed her. He also shot a classroom aide, but no children were hurt. He was taking antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist.
May 21, 1998 - Springfield, Oregon
Kip Kinkel, age 15, killed two students and wounded 22 others in the cafeteria at Thurston High School. He had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home. He had been taking the antidepressant Prozac and amphetamine and had been attending anger control classes.
April 16, 1999 -Notus, Idaho
Shawn Cooper, age 15, fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a mix of SSRI antidepressants and Ritalin.
April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colorado
Eric Harris, age 18, and Dylan Klebold, age 17, killed 14 students (including themselves) and one teacher. Twenty-three others were wounded at Columbine High School. Harris was on the antidepressants Luvox and Zoloft and had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. The autopsy results for Dylan Klebold were not disclosed, but it is thought he was sharing Harris’s medications.
April 28, 1999 - Taber, Alberta, Canada
Todd Cameron Smith, age14, killed one student and injured another at W.R. Myers High School. He had taken Dexadrine.
May 20, 1999 - Conyers, Georgia
Thomas Solomon, age 15, shot and wounded six students at Heritage High School. He was taking Ritalin.
Dec. 6, 1999 - Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Seth Trickey, age 13, wounded four students at Fort Gibson Middle School using a 9-mm semiautomatic handgun. He was taking two psychotropic drugs.
January 10, 2001 -, age 17, Oxnard, California
Richard Lopez, age 17, took a fellow student hostage. He was later killed by police. He had taken Prozac and Paxil.
March 7, 2001 - Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Catherine Bush, age 14, wounded a fellow student at Bishop Neumann High School. She was on Paxil.
March 22, 2001 - Granite Hills, California
Jason Hoffman, age 18, shot and wounded one teacher and three students at Granite Hills High School. He was taking the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor and had been seeing a psychiatrist.
April 15, 2001 - Mattawa, Washington
Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, took a rifle to his Wahluke High School and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. According to a student, “Cory was yelling and then he just stopped, looked down at the gun in his hand and woke up.” No one was hurt, and he had no memory of the incident. Three weeks before the event, he had been taken off Paxil and prescribed a high dose of the drug Effexor. He was on the varsity basketball team, played football and golf, and was very popular in school. His father said, “Cory sat in jail for 14 months before finally being released based on expert testimony by psychiatrists that his behavior was an adverse reaction to the drugs he was prescribed.”
January 16, 2002 - Grundy, Virginia
Peter Odighizuwa killed three people at the Appalachian School of Law, including the dean, a professor, and a student. He was withdrawing from an antidepressant.
January, 2003 - Elliot City, Maryland
Ryan T. Furlough, age 19, killed a Centennial High School classmate by spiking his soda with cyanide. He was on Effexor.
February 9, 2004 - East Greenbush, New York
Jon Romano, age 16, shot and wounded a special education teacher. He was on Paxil and had been seeing a psychiatrist.
March 21, 2005 - Red Lake, Minnesota
Jeff Weise, age 16, killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girlfriend at their home, then killed a teacher, a security guard, five students, and finally himself at Red Lake High School, leaving a total of 10 dead. He had previously spent about a year and a half in a residential juvenile treatment program and had been prescribed Prozac at a highly neurotoxic dose of 60 mg a day!
April 24, 2006 - Hillsborough, NC
A student at East Chapel High School took a teacher and a fellow student hostage with a shotgun. He had just stopped taking antidepressants and an antipsychotic.
August 30, 2006 - Hillsborough, North Carolina
Alvaro Castillo, age 19, shot and killed his father, then wounded two students at Orange High School before surrendering to police. Celexa and other medications were found in his personal effects.
September 27, 2006 - Bailey, Colorado
Duane Morrison, a Platte Canyon High School student, took six female students hostage, sexually assaulted them, and then shot one of them in the back of the head before shooting himself. He was on an antidepressant.
September 29, 2006 - Cazenovia, Wisconsin
Eric Hainstock, a student at Weston High School, killed one person. He had been labeled with an ADHD diagnosis and was likely on Ritalin.
October 10, 2006 - Charleston, South Carolina
Tyrell Glover, age 19, took an air rifle to Burke High School, where he planned to hold students hostage. He was gunned down by police. He had been on an antidepressant for several years and had recently been switched to Prozac.
January 3, 2007 - Tacoma, Washington
Douglas Chanthabouly, age 18, shot a fellow student at Henry Foss High School. He had been in a psychiatric hospital because of a suicide attempt and was on an anti-psychotic.
April 16, 2007 - Blacksburg, Virginia
Cho Seung-Hui, age 23, killed 32 fellow students and wounded 15 at Virginia Tech. He then killed himself. He was on prescription medications.
October 10, 2007 - Cleveland, Ohio
Asa H. Coon, age 14, wounded two students and two teachers and then killed himself. He had been taking the antidepressant Trazodone.
January 8, 2008 - Columbia, Tennessee
A 15-year-old student at Spring Hill High School brought a semi-automatic gun to school but did not shoot anybody. He also had in his possession the antidepressant Zoloft.
January 23, 2008 - Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Brian Gilmore was arrested in the high school parking lot of Lake City High School with three stolen high-powered rifles and ammunition. His mother stated that his previous psychiatric meds had “drastically” changed the teenager’s behavior, and his doctor had recently switched him to Prozac.
February 14, 2008 - DeKalb, Illinois
Stephen P. Kazmierczak, a former graduate student at Northern Illinois University, killed five students and wounded 17 more in a NIU classroom before killing himself. He had been seeing a psychiatrist who had him taking Prozac, Xanax, and Ambien.
February 15, 2008 - Blackfoot, Idaho
Curtis Kofoed, age 16, took a handgun to Snake River High School, but did not shoot anybody. Eight hours later, he killed himself. He had depression problems in the past and was taking an antidepressant.
August 28, 2008 - Boerne, Texas
Allen Doelitsch, age 18, was jailed for asking a 14-year-old friend to join him in a “Columbine-style” attack. He had been depressed and had recently stopped his bipolar medication because of the side effects.
November 10, 2009 - Pine Plains, New York
Christopher Craft Sr., age 43, a graduate of Stissing High School, took middle school principal Robert Hess hostage with a shotgun. He had been on Cymbalta for depression.
February 5, 2012 - Huntsville, Alabama
Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a Discover Middle School student. He had a history of being treated for ADHD and depression. He had been seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist and was taking the antidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs.”
December 14, 2012 - Newtown, Connecticut
Adam Lanza, age 24, killed his mother at her home and then killed 20 children and six staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. He reportedly committed suicide at the scene. According to the Washington Post and other witnesses, Lanza was on a psychotropic medication.
Thanks to Ann Marie Michaels at http://www.cheeseslave.com/school-shootings-linked-to-pharmaceutical-drugs/ for doing the hard work of compiling this partial list of drug-related school shootings from the internet. For much more on the sobering connections between irrational acts of violence and psychotropic drugs, check out the 6,000 or so examples at www.ssristories.org. Also check out the powerful documentaries at www.cchr.org and read psychiatrist Peter Breggin’s revelatory books about the dangers of psych drugs, especially Medication Madness (much more on his website at www.breggin.com).
Dr. Kohls warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug because of the common, often serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur while discontinuing the chronic use of virtually any psychoactive drug, whether illicit or legal. He advises close consultation with an informed physician familiar with dealing with drug withdrawal syndromes and the nutritional needs of the drug-toxified, drug-dependent, and nutritionally depleted brain.