Instances of mass violence and mass shootings occur undoubtedly too often. When shootings such as those in Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora, and Virginia Tech happen, the blame often falls on gun ownership, violent media, or violent video games. I believe, as a whole, people are overlooking a variable that could very well be at the root of this problem — psychotropic drugs.
But where, I’d like to ask my colleagues in the media, is the reporting about the psychiatric medications the perpetrator – who had been under treatment for mental-health problems – may have been taking? After all, Mark and Louise Tambascio, family friends of the shooter and his mother, were interviewed on CBS’ “60 Minutes,” during which Louise Tambascio told correspondent Scott Pelley: “I know he was on medication and everything, but she homeschooled him at home cause he couldn’t deal with the school classes sometimes, so she just homeschooled Adam at home. And that was her life.” And here, Tambascio tells ABC News, “I knew he was on medication, but that’s all I know.”
There is overwhelming evidence that psychiatric drugs cause violence. 22 International drug regulatory warnings cite violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis and even homicidal ideation. Individuals under the influence of such drugs and committing these acts of senseless violence are not limited to using guns are not limited to just schools. Recent examples of individuals under the influence of such drugs including Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis and Fort Hood shooter Ivan Lopez.
In 1997, 5 million children were listed as using psychotropic drugs, Ritalin being among the most common. Ritalin use has increased by 700% since 1990. By the year 2000, it was prescribed for approximately 7 million children.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is diagnosed eight times more often in boys than in girls.
Since direct-to-consumer drug advertising was legalized 13 years ago, Americans have become a nation of pill poppers — choosing the type of drug they desire like a new toothpaste, sometimes whether or not they need it. But if patients want the drugs, doctors and pharma executives want them to have the drugs and media gets full page ads and huge TV flights (when many advertisers have dried up), is the national pillathon really a problem? Yes, when you consider the cost of private and government insurance and the health of patients who take potentially dangerous drugs like these.
Seroquel, Zyprexa, Geodon, atypical antipsychotics—Even though the antipsychotic Seroquel surpasses 71 drugs on the FDA’s January quarterly report with 1766 adverse events, even though it’s linked to eight corruption scandals, even though military parents blame Seroquel for unexplained troop deaths, it is the fifth biggest-selling drug in the world and netted AstraZeneca almost $5 billion last year. Atypicals were originally promoted to replace side-effect prone drugs like Thorazine but soon became pharmaceutical Swiss Army Knives for depression, anxiety, insomnia, bipolar and conduct disorders and other off label uses — and betrayed the same side effects as older antipsychotics. (Especially tardive dyskinesia-linked Abilify.)