Aurora Theater Shooter Felt Mania and Hatred After Taking Psychiatric Drugs Linked To Violence

The first time they met, the psychiatrist who treated Aurora theater shooter James Holmes prescribed him psychiatric drugs linked to violence and homicide, even though Holmes openly admitted he was obsessively having thoughts of killing people.

In fact, Holmes told the psychiatrist that his homicidal thoughts “were the worst they had been.”

Some time after taking the psychiatric drugs, Holmes writes in a notebook that the “first appearance of mania” occurs, that he has “no fear of consequences,” and that his “hatred [is] unchecked.”

Holmes is currently standing trial on charges related to his killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in an attack on the Aurora Century 16 movie theater during a packed, midnight screening of the film “The Dark Knight Rises” on July 19, 2012.

Holmes was a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado when he contacted the Student Mental Health Center for help with his obsessive thoughts of killing people and his anxiety in social situations.  He was referred to psychiatrist Lynne Fenton for treatment.  He met with Fenton five times in the final months before he dropped out of school.  He went on his deadly rampage a few weeks later.

In a notebook where Holmes recorded his thoughts during the time he was meeting with Fenton, he noted that at their first meeting, Fenton “immediately prescribed antidepressants.”  The notebook entry went on to report that the drugs were ineffective: “No effect when needed.”

This is followed by a chilling series of statements:  “First appearance of mania occurs, not good mania.  Anxiety and fear disappears.  No more fear….  No fear of consequences…  No more fear, hatred unchecked.”

Meds psychiatrist prescribed are on list of drugs most associated with violence

According to Fenton’s court testimony, Holmes told her at their first meeting about his obsessive thoughts about killing people.  He used the psychiatric term “OCD” (obsessive compulsive disorder) to describe the recurring thoughts.

Fenton testified about Holmes having these homicidal thoughts (“ideation”): “He said that his OCD symptoms – and that was referring to his thoughts of homicidal ideation – were the worst they had been.”

Fenton prescribed the psychiatric drugs sertraline and clonazepam to Holmes for his anxiety at that first meeting.

Both drugs are on the list of prescription drugs most associated with incidents of violence reported to the FDA, according to a 2010 study in the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS One).  After reviewing data from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system, the authors of the study concluded that 31 drugs were disproportionately associated with violent thoughts and actions – including homicide.  These 31 drugs accounted for 79% of all the reports of violence the FDA received from 2004 through September 2009.

Sertraline, marketed under various names including Zoloft, is a drug in the newer class of antidepressants known as SSRIs (selective serotonin uptake reinhibitors).  To date, 34 studies and 26 warnings issued by international drug regulatory authorities have warned about the dangers of sertraline and other SSRI antidepressants.  The very long list of dangerous side effects include abnormal behavior, emotional changes, suicide, anxiety, agitation, aggression and violence.

Clonazepam, marketed as Klonopin, is a DEA schedule IV controlled substance in the class of addictive drugs known as benzodiazepines, which the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warns can cause hostility.  The Canadian national public health department, Health Canada, warns that clonazepam can cause hallucinations and delusional thinking.

The next two meetings between Fenton and Holmes were short “meds checks.”  Fenton discontinued the clonazepam when Holmes reported it was ineffective.  She recommended another antipsychotic drug, quetiapine, marketed as Seroquel.

Quetiapine (Seroquel) is also on the PLoS One’s list of the 31drugs most associated with violence.

Holmes declined to take Seroquel.

Psychiatrist testifies: “No indication of any threat from him”

In her meetings with Holmes, Fenton asked him to tell her more about his obsessive thoughts of killing people, according to her testimony in court, but he withheld any further information, saying he “won’t give details” or refusing to give any answer at all.

He did admit to her that he hated people.  Fenton testified that in one meeting, Holmes emphasized he wouldn’t hurt himself, but she said that he left her with the impression he could hurt others.

Holmes told her that he “had read Nietzsche, Kaczynski, and the Tylenol terrorist.”  Nietzsche was a German philosopher whose rejection of any universal moral law was summarized in his statement “God is dead.”  Ted Kaczynski is the serial killer known as the Unabomber.  The so-called Tylenol terrorist caused deaths through drug tampering.

Still, Fenton apparently believed him when he said he had no specific plans for killing and no specific targets in mind.  She testified that there was “no indication of any threat from him.”  She saw no change in his demeanor during the months she met with him, testifying that there was “no difference in presentment” between their first and last meetings.

Meanwhile, Holmes’s notebook shows that during the time he was meeting with Fenton, he was actively formulating elaborate plans for mass murder.  He acquired weapons, explosives, and other equipment to carry it out.  He practiced shooting at a target range.

Fenton testified that at her final meeting with Holmes on June 11, she “still had significant concerns about his homicidal thoughts and dangerousness.”  But she also testified that she “thought he was functioning well” and that his plans for his life after dropping out of graduate school “made sense.”

After their final meeting, Fenton never called or followed up with Holmes.

Five weeks later on July 19, Holmes suited up in body armor, armed himself with weapons, a gas canister and gas mask, and set out to commit mass murder.  He also left his apartment booby-trapped with explosives in an attempt to cause even more fatalities.

Holmes sent his notebook to psychiatrist to educate her

Entries in his notebook show contempt for Fenton and another psychiatrist, Robert Feinstein, whom Fenton brought into two of the five meetings she had with Holmes.  He referred to the psychiatrists as “mind rapists.”

After writing that he intended to “deflect incriminating questions” from the psychiatrists about his thoughts of killing, he indicated they made that easy, noting: “Oddly, they don’t pursue or delve farther into harmful omissions.”

He challenged Fenton in one meeting, asking her “Are you just a pill pusher?”

Holmes mailed his notebook to Fenton just hours before his deadly attack on the theater.  In an interview two years later, Holmes said he mailed the notebook to Fenton to educate her so that “something like this wouldn’t happen again.”

Major Study Reveals ADHD Drugs Were Never Proven Safe Or Effective

Ritalin pills and warning label.A recent study led by researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and several other institutions, concludes that the clinical trials for drugs approved as treatment for so-called ADHD were not designed to assess adverse events or long-term safety and effectiveness.

According to investigative journalist Kelly Patricia O’Meara, researchers identified 32 clinical trials used to obtain approval of ADHD drugs and found the following:

  • Eleven drugs (55%) were approved with less than 100 participants.
  • The median length of time that the drug was tested prior to its approval was only four weeks.
  • 38% of the drugs were actually approved with participants studied less than four weeks.

Drug regulatory agencies in eight countries have issued 44 warnings that ADHD drugs/stimulants cause harmful, even life-threatening side effects, including abnormal heart rate/rhythm, depression, hallucinations, homicidal ideation, insomnia, irritability, hostility, mania/psychosis, seizures, stunted growth, stroke and sudden death.  These drug warnings can be accessed through CCHR International’s psychiatric drug side effects search engine.

With no medical tests to prove the existence of ADHD, leading neuroscientists have stated that “ADHD” is no more than a description of behaviors, not a true medical disease requiring drugs to treat it.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue psychiatric drugs is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has experienced harmful side effects from an ADHD drug, we want to talk to you. You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence. We welcome your comments on this article below.

Another Death at Troubled State Psychiatric Institution in Pueblo

Facility received 1,100 patient complaints in 2008-09, reported 11 patient deaths in 2009

Another person has died while in the custody of the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo (CMHIP), according to the Denver Post: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_15822489. The cause of death of 41-year-old Troy Allen Geske, who died several days ago, will not be known until an autopsy is complete.

His death is being closely followed because of recent revelations of other deaths at the psychiatric facility, including the suicide of Sergio Taylor.  An autopsy report indicated 23-year-old Taylor died of asphyxiation in September 2009 after complaining about conditions at the CMHIP.  He was found by law enforcement officers under blankets with a plastic bag over his head in a supposedly high-security area of the psychiatric facility.  About a month earlier, Taylor and 19 other patients had signed a petition that said, “The sense of hopelessness has set in….  History has shown here…that when patients are feeling bored, hopeless and warehoused, …assault and suicide attempts transpire.”

As a direct result of Taylor’s death and citing concerns that other patients could die, the Colorado Department of Health conducted an immediate investigation of CMHIP in October 2009, according to The Denver Channel (KMGH): http://www.thedenverchannel.com/print/24085289/detail.html. In its report, the health department found patients at the state hospital in Pueblo to be in “immediate jeopardy” and detailed serious errors by the institution’s staff.  The department conducted an unannounced inspection of the facility again this past May.

CALL7 investigators from The Denver Channel, who have been reporting on deaths at the state hospital for months, also uncovered the death of another patient of the CMHIP, whose death was never reported to the state health department by CMHIP.  Josh Garcia died after being overdrugged and neglected by staff at the psychiatric institution.  According to his family, Garcia was given a number of powerful psychiatric drugs and suffered serious adverse effects, including severe abdominal pain.  He complained to the staff but was ignored, according to his family.  By the time Garcia was taken to a hospital, it was too late.  His bowels burst, severe infection set in, and he was brain dead within hours.  His family sued and recently received a settlement from the state over his death.

The Colorado Legislative Audit Committee has also called for repeated investigations of the CMHIP in recent years, due to complaints it receives.  In a report released in December 2009, the Office of the State Auditor found numerous deficiencies in the operations of the CMHIP that compromised safety and proved costly to the state.  Among these deficiencies, the institution did not adequately record, investigate or resolve patient complaints.  For 25 percent of the 1,100 patient complaints relating to staff behavior and quality of treatment issues the facility recorded in fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the database did not even contain the names of the 270 staff members who were the subject of the complaints.  The report also revealed that there were 11 patient deaths at the facility last year, the highest number in the three years covered in the report.  How many of those were suicides, besides the suicide of Sergio Taylor, is unknown.  Another audit is underway currently, again at the request of state legislators, to determine if there are other patients who have died of neglect at the state psychiatric hospital.

The CMHIP also has a history of failing to keep the public safe from the mentally ill housed there who have been found not guilty by reason of insanity in connection with serious crimes.  Nine such patients escaped in 2009, with patient escapes at a three-year high.