October 4, 2017

The gun violence factor we don't discuss

While mental drugs like anti-depressants help a great number of people, it is also true that they show up as having been used prior to a large number of violence cases. Because the media doesn't want to challenge the drug industry, this issue tends to be ignored. It is admittedly complex - what if 98% of users are helped but 2% turn violent? But its complexity doesn't mean the issue shouldn't be up for discussion.

Las Vegas Review Journal - Stephen Paddock, who killed at least 58 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas on Sunday with high-powered rifles, was prescribed an anti-anxiety drug in June that can lead to aggressive behavior, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned.

Paddock purchased the drug — its brand name is Valium — without insurance at a Walgreens store in Reno on the same day it was prescribed. He was supposed to take one pill a day.

Diazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, which studies have shown can trigger aggressive behavior. Chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences, according to drugabuse.com.

‘“If somebody has an underlying aggression problem and you sedate them with that drug, they can become aggressive,” said Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center. “It can disinhibit an underlying emotional state. … It is much like what happens when you give alcohol to some people … they become aggressive instead of going to sleep.”

Pohl, who spoke to the Review-Journal from the Netherlands, said the effects of the drug also can be magnified by alcohol.

A 2015 study published in World Psychiatry of 960 Finnish adults and teens convicted of homicide showed that their odds of killing were 45 percent higher during time periods when they were on benzodiazepines.

A year earlier, the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry published a study titled, “Benzodiazepine Use and Aggressive Behavior.” The authors wrote: “It appears that benzodiazepine use is moderately associated with subsequent aggressive behavior.”

.... Questions have long swirled around whether psychiatric drugs are linked to mass school shootings in the United States, though researchers have yet to find a definitive connections, despite several studies.

Progressive Review, 2014  The growth in school shootings is a fairly new phenomenon while guns aren't. Why is there so little discussion of other possible causes such as bad reactions to psychiatric drugs (with which many school shooters were being treated), the growth of violent video games & movies, the collapse of American culture generally and the stressful rise of test driven public education?

Daily Mail, UK, 2014  - An Oxford University study found that men – and women – in their late teens and early 20s – were almost 50 per cent more likely to be convicted of offences from assault to murder when taking SSRI drugs.

This family of anti-depressants includes Prozac, as well as Seroxat, Lustral, Cipralex and Cipramil, the most commonly prescribed of the pills.

One in eight Britons takes SSRIs each year – and the number of prescription has doubled in the last decade.

Meanwhile in the US around 11 per cent of people aged 12 and over take antidepressants, including SSRIs, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Chicago Tribune, 2017 - Late in his senior year of high school, James Fields Jr. was excitedly mapping his future, hoping to join the Army right after graduation. Although his political and social views ran counter to American values – he much preferred authoritarianism and the racial purity dogma of the Third Reich – Fields looked forward to soldiering in democracy’s most powerful military.

That’s how Derek Weimer, his favorite teacher in 2015, remembers it.

Then one day in that spring semester, Fields told Weimer that the Army had turned him down for a reason related to his psychiatric history, Weimer recalled this week. Weimer wasn’t surprised by the rejection, he said, because Fields had confided to him a year earlier that he suffered from schizophrenia and was being treated with drugs to control his illness.

Now Fields, 20, is charged with a deadly act of automotive fury amid the violent clashes Aug. 12 between white-nationalist demonstrators and counterprotesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Weimer, a former officer in the Kentucky National Guard who taught Fields in a class called America’s Modern Wars, had encouraged his military aspirations and tried to steer him away from neo-Nazism.

“He talked about being an infantryman or possibly a military policeman,” Weimer said. “He wasn’t really an emotional guy, so he wasn’t super in the dumps” about the Army’s decision. “He was just like, ‘Hey, they turned me down.’ He said he had a history of taking ant-ipsychotic meds, and the way his recruiter explained it, he had to be off those meds for a certain amount of time before they’d consider him.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Aggressive violence is a chosen behavior, not an involuntary one. People who've learned to make violence their first resort, and who are not psychotic or psychopathic, should indeed not be prescribed substances that mute what inhibitions they have.

But that presumes that they have medical prescribers who know them well enough to prescribe for them thoughtfully, something actually prevented by today's industrialised medical system.