Mass Shooters and Psychotropic Drugs

Whenever a traumatic event occurs such as the Las Vegas massacre shooting on October 1st, we are forced to ask ourselves what could possibly make another human commit such atrocity?

In nearly every mass shooting incident over the last twenty years, the single largest common factor is that the perpetrators were either actively taking powerful psychotropic drugs or had been at some point in the immediate past before they committed their crimes.

An overwhelming amount of credible scientific studies going back more than a decade, as well as internal documents from certain pharmaceutical companies that suppressed the information show that SSRI drugs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors ) have well known, but unreported side effects, including but not limited to suicide and other violent behavior.

Psychotropic drug is a psychopharmaceutical, or chemical substance that changes brain function and results in alterations in perception, mood, consciousness or behavior. At their core, these drugs are designed to change the way someone thinks, feels, and acts.

Examples of psychotropic drugs:

  • Sertraline (Zoloft) – used to treat Clinical Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety Disorder, and Panic Disorder.
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac) – used  to treat Clinical Depression, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Bulimia Nervosa, and Panic Disorder.
  • Paroxetine (Paxil) – used to treat Clinical Depression, Social Anxiety Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

The current narrative is clearly focusing on the wrong issue and asking the wrong questions, either as a deliberate attempt to hide these links, or out of complete and utter ignorance.


Many of these incidents seem to have the strongest correlation between young white males where there has been:

  • Evident over-prescribing of psychotropic drugs
  • Blatant abuse of prescribed doses
  • Abruptly ceasing to take their prescribed doses


1. Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, held 23 of his classmates hostage in his small town of Wahluke, Washington. In a 2004 testimony with the FDA, Baadsgaard stated that the day of the incident he took 300mg of Effexor, prescribed by his doctor before going to sleep. Baadsgaard was hallucinating and has no memory of the incident. He was surprised to wake up in Juvenile Detention Center. His medical records show that before being prescribed Effexor, he was abruptly taken off Paxil and immediately put on Effexor by the advice of his doctor.

2. Jeff Weise, age 16, had been taking 60mg a day of Prozac before he shot and killed 10 people as well as injuring 12 others at his school in Minnesota in 2005. Although he was only 16 years old, Jeff Weise was prescribed three times the average starting dose of Prozac than the average adult. Prozac, another drug prescribed to treat depression, is typically prescribed at 20mg/day for most adults.


3. Eric Harris, age 17, one of the two teenage shooters that committed the Columbine School Massacre in 1999 was found to have been taking both Zoloft and Luvox.

4. Kip Kinkel, age 15, who killed his parents and shot 24 of his classmates, was on Prozac during the time of the incident in 1998.

5. Andrew Golden, age 11 and Mitchell Johnson, age 14 shot 15 people, killing four students, one teacher, and wounding 10 others while they were both on a consistent schedule of Ritalin.


The side effects of these drugs are so strong that they can no longer be prescribed without inpatient supervision, one on one counseling and an evidence based treatment model.

In addition, pharmaceutical companies are businesses that are concerned with growing profits for their shareholders. They’re not benevolent entities seeking to heal humanity. So it makes sense that they would sell addictive drugs to people who may or may not need them, regardless of the side effects.

The best option however, is for the troubled person to get professional treatment and guidance on what they are struggling with. If we can detect and treat the underlying causes of someone’s pain we can give them the tools they need to handle life in healthy, non-addictive ways.

If you’re trying to break free from your addiction of prescriptions or other substances but haven’t been able to do it on your own, call us at [maxbutton id=”1″ ]   and we will guide you throughout your journey to recovery. Our treatment specialists are here to listen to your individual situation and find the program that is a perfect fit for you.

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