Psychiatrist: Columbine and Aurora Theater Shooters Were Driven By Psychiatric Drugs

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A psychiatrist involved in the legal actions related to the shootings at Columbine High School and the Aurora Century theater has concluded that psychiatric drugs were the main contributing factor in both mass murders.

Peter Breggin, M.D., a Harvard-trained psychiatrist, has been involved in criminal and civil cases related to a number of mass murders.  He recently reported his conclusions concerning the role of psychiatric drugs in five mass murders, including the two worst in Colorado history.

We previously reported that Aurora theater shooter James Holmes experienced his first episode of mania after taking the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline) prescribed by his psychiatrist, at which time he wrote in his journal that his hatred was unleashed.  Weeks later, Holmes went on the shooting rampage in which he killed 12 moviegoers and injured 70 others in July 2012.

We also previously reported that Eric Harris became obsessed with homicidal and suicidal thoughts within weeks of starting on the antidepressant Zoloft.  He was then switched to another violence-linked antidepressant, Luvox, which he was taking at the time he and Dylan Klebold opened fire at Columbine High School, killing 12 students and a teacher and wounding 26 others before killing themselves in April 1998.

Zoloft and Luvox are in the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).  To date, 26 warnings by international drug regulatory authorities and 34 studies have warned that the adverse effects of SSRIs include mania, aggression, suicide and violence.  Both Zoloft and Luvox are on a list of prescription drugs with the most incidents of violence reported to the FDA, according to a 2010 study published by the Public Library of Science ONE (PLoS One).

Without the SSRI antidepressant, Holmes “probably would not have committed mass murder”

In his recent report, Breggin makes this observation about the psychiatric treatment James Holmes received: “Given the [psychiatrist’s] concerns about [James Holmes’] psychotic thinking and his obviously violent tendencies, exposing Holmes to Zoloft was like pouring gasoline on a fire.”

Breggin says Holmes was on Zoloft for about 94 days before abruptly stopping around June 30, just 20 days before his deadly rampage.  But it was not the sudden withdrawal that brought on the violence, according to Breggin.

“An abrupt withdrawal might have worsened his condition, but the main contributing factor to the violence was his lengthy exposure to a drug that worsened his condition and drove him into psychosis,” he writes.  “He had a manic-like psychosis while taking the Zoloft and this would not have abated for some time after stopping the medication.”

Breggin’s conclusion: “I have no doubt that Zoloft contributed to Holmes’ escalating violence and that without it he probably would not have committed mass murder.”

Lengthy exposure to SSRI antidepressants brought on Eric Harris’ violence

Concerning Eric Harris, Breggin noted in his recent report that the Columbine shooter did not begin planning his violent assault until he had been on antidepressants for months.

Harris was switched to the SSRI antidepressant Luvox in April 1998, a year before the attack on Columbine High School, and the autopsy toxicology report confirmed it was still in his system at the time of the shooting.

Again, it was the lengthy exposure to Luvox that brought on Harris’ violence, according to Breggin, who noted that the writings in Harris’ journal “grew increasingly bizarre and violent over the period in which he continued to take increasing amounts of Luvox.”

Breggin states that psychiatrists not only failed to detect or prevent the violence perpetrated by Holmes and Harris, but “gave drugs that caused violence or amplified any pre-existing violent tendencies.”

Why are these drugs on the market?

Breggin points out that “careful scrutiny of the FDA testing for drug approval shows that antidepressants do not work any better than placebo, but that they do make many people very mentally disturbed and increase the rate of suicide and violence.”

“Why are these drugs on the market?” he asks.

Breggin concludes: “Curtailing or stopping the use of SSRIs and other antidepressants would vastly diminish an infinite number of aggressive and violent acts committed by individuals taking these drugs….”

If you or someone you know has experienced violent outcomes from taking SSRI antidepressants or any other psychiatric drug, please report it to the FDA by clicking here.  And we want to talk to you about your experience.  You can contact us privately by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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.”

No Surprise: Psych Drugs Found in Apartment of Aurora Theater Shooter James Holmes

Two psychiatric drugs with known links to violence, homicidal thoughts, and homicide were found during a police search of the apartment of James Holmes, charged with killing 12 people and injuring 58 others in a shooting spree at an Aurora, Colorado movie theater on July 20.

According to newly unsealed court documents, the prescription drugs found in Holmes’s apartment included the antianxiety drug clonazepam and a generic version of the antidepressant Zoloft (sertraline).

Clonazepam and Sertraline Are Linked to Violence and Homicide

A drug study published in December 2010 concluded clonazepam and sertraline are two of a relatively small group of drugs linked to violence, homicidal ideation and homicidal actions.

The authors of the study reviewed 1,937 cases of violent drug side effects reported to the FDA from 2004-09 and found that 31 drugs, among them clonzepam and sertraline, accounted for 79% of all reported cases of violence.

Twenty of the 31 drugs are psychiatric drugs, including 11 antidepressants, 6 sedative/hypnotics, and 3 drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The specific cases of violence reported to the FDA included homicide, homicidal thoughts, physical assaults, physical abuse, and other violent acts.

The authors concluded, “These data provide new evidence that acts of violence towards others are a genuine and serious adverse drug event that is associated with a relatively small group of drugs.”  (Thomas J. Moore, Joseph Glenmullen, Curt D. Furbert, “Prescription Drugs Associated with Reports of Violence Towards Others,” Public Library of Science ONE, Vol. 5, Iss. 12, Dec. 2010. )

The Canadian drug regulatory authority also issued a warning on clonazepam in 2007.  Health Canada advised consumers that clonazepam can be habit-forming within a few months of use, and its side effects can include hallucinations, delusional thinking, confusion, loss of memory, and depression.  (“Sleep Supplements Found to Contain Habit-forming Drug,” Health Canada Advisory, June 14, 2007.)

In dozens of cases of mass murder or random acts of senseless violence, the perpetrators are known to have been under the influence of psychiatric drugs that have been documented by international drug regulatory agencies as causing adverse effects that include mania, psychosis, aggression, violence, and homicidal thoughts. 

International regulatory authorities have issued 22 drug warnings on psychiatric drugs causing hostility, aggression, mania/psychosis, homicidal thoughts and harm to others.  These warnings have been issued in the United States, European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. 

The Citizens Commision on Human Rights has renewed its call for a federal investigation into shootings at schools, malls, and workplaces and any other acts of senseless violence for links to the mind-altering psychiatric drugs the shooters have taken.

Please click here to read and sign CCHR International’s petition calling for this investigation. 

If you or someone you know has experienced violent side effects from psychiatric drugs, 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.

InfoWars—Dr. Lynne Fenton, the Batman killer, drugs and drug money

Jon Rappoport
Infowars.com
July 31, 2012

“This is a high stakes game. WHAT DRUGS WAS HOLMES TAKING?”

People don’t get it. The media don’t get it and they don’t want to get it. Billions of dollars are riding on the drugs Dr. Lynne Fenton may have prescribed to her patient, James Holmes, the accused Batman shooter.

And when billions of dollars in potentially lost revenue are hanging in the balance, the interested parties take action. They’re serious about their money. They don’t screw around.

You see, if James Holmes was, for example, taking Prozac, all of a sudden no one wants to take it. If doctors prescribe it to patients, the patients say, “Hey, wasn’t this the drug that nutcase took before he killed all those people in the theater?”

So right now, in Aurora, there are pharmaceutical people on the scene

And that’s not all. Congress holds hearings, not because they want to, but because they want to look like they’re doing the right thing. And at those hearings, all sorts of nasty stuff comes out about Prozac. It’s big news. The studies that showed the drug was dangerous, that it could and would cause people to commit suicide and homicide. Boom. More bad press for the manufacturer. More investigations. More lost revenue. So right now, in Aurora, there are pharmaceutical people on the scene. Not just low-level goofballs, but competent investigators. They want to know what drugs James Holmes was prescribed. They need to know. And behind the scenes, people with clout are making phone calls. These pharma types are talking to government agents and it’s crazy time and damage-control time, and nobody is laughing. This is a high-stakes game. WHAT DRUGS WAS HOLMES TAKING?

There is pressure on both attorneys in the case, too. And the cops. With an insanity plea lurking in the wings, Holmes’ medical records could very well see the light of day. That would let everybody know what the drugs were. So somebody is calling the governor of Colorado, and other state officials, and they’re trying to maneuver and manipulate the legal process, to make the medical records vanish.

Come on. This isn’t just a murder case. Now it’s about money. Big pharma lawyers are reading up on Colorado law to find loopholes, ways to get around revealing Holmes’ medical history.

Holmes is now a pawn. He’s the nowhere kid who is going to be shuttled around on the game board to save the drug money for the people who own it.

Holmes’ psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, was reprimanded by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, in 2005, for prescribing drugs to several patients, including herself, without entering the information in patient records

The money is dirty. It always was. It’s filthy. It’s been made on the backs of people who have died at the rate of 100,000 a year in the US alone. That’s a million people per decade—pharmaceutically caused deaths. The heads of these drug companies and their allied banks are Mafiosa. They inflict more human damage in a day than all the goombahs who have ever shot up pizza joints on Mulberry Street or dealt narcotics to addicts across the world, since Sicily puts itself on the map as the center of the Cosa Nostra.

Holmes’ psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, was reprimanded by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners, in 2005, for prescribing drugs to several patients, including herself, without entering the information in patient records. She could now find a target painted on her back, as the drug companies try to make her a patsy, an “irresponsible and incompetent doctor who didn’t give Mr. Holmes what he truly needed.” They would do this to take the drugs off the hook. “In the hands of a good psychiatrist, the proper medications would have worked well.” Who knows? Maybe they’ll claim she didn’t even treat Holmes directly, but supervised interns or grad students, who actually worked with Holmes.

I wrote the following as part of a 1999 white paper for The Truth Seeker Foundation, in the wake of the Columbine massacre. So the information is from that period. The white paper was titled: WHY DID THEY DO IT? THE SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ACROSS AMERICA.

It’s quite long; I’ve only printed an excerpt here. You can go to my blog and read the whole thing. It’s very relevant to the issues at hand.

http://jonrappoport.wordpress.com

The bulk of American media is afraid to go after psychiatric drugs as a cause of violence. This fear stems, in part, from the sure knowledge that expert attack dogs are waiting in the wings, funded by big-time pharmaceutical companies.

There are doctors and researchers as well who have seen a dark truth about these drugs in the journals, but are afraid to stand up and speak out. After all, the medical culture punishes no one as severely as its own defectors.

If the mothers of the young killers and young victims began to see a terrible knowledge about the psychiatric drugs swim into view, a knowledge they hadn’t imagined, and if THEY joined forces, the earth would shake.

And what of the federal government itself? The FDA licenses every drug released for public use and certifies that it is safe and effective. If a real tornado started at the public level, if the mothers of the young killers and young victims began to see a terrible knowledge about the psychiatric drugs swim into view, a knowledge they hadn’t imagined, and if THEY joined forces, the earth would shake.

After commenting on some of the adverse effects of the antidepressant drug Prozac, psychiatrist Peter Breggin notes, “From the initial studies, it was also apparent that a small percentage of Prozac patients became psychotic.”

Prozac, in fact, endured a rocky road in the press for a time. Stories on it rarely appear now. The major media have backed off. But on February 7th, 1991, Amy Marcus’ Wall Street Journal article on the drug carried the headline, “Murder Trials Introduce Prozac Defense.” She wrote, “A spate of murder trials in which defendants claim they became violent when they took the antidepressant Prozac are imposing new problems for the drug’s maker, Eli Lilly and Co.”

Also on February 7, 1991, the New York Times ran a Prozac piece headlined, “Suicidal Behavior Tied Again to Drug: Does Antidepressant Prompt Violence?”

In his landmark book, Toxic Psychiatry, Dr. Breggin mentions that the Donahue show (Feb. 28, 1991) “put together a group of individuals who had become compulsively self-destructive and murderous after taking Prozac and the clamorous telephone and audience response confirmed the problem.”

Breggin also cites a troubling study from the February 1990 American Journal of Psychiatry (Teicher et al, v.147:207-210) which reports on “six depressed patients, previously free of recent suicidal ideation, who developed intense, violent suicidal preoccupations after 2-7 weeks of fluoxetine [Prozac] treatment.’ The suicidal preoccupations lasted from three days to three months after termination of the treatment. The report estimates that 3.5 percent of Prozac users were at risk. While denying the validity of the study, Dista Products, a division of Eli Lilly, put out a brochure for doctors dated August 31, 1990, stating that it was adding ‘suicidal ideation’ to the adverse events section of its Prozac product information.”

An earlier study, from the September 1989 Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, by Joseph Lipiniski, Jr., indicates that, in five examined cases, people on Prozac developed what is called akathisia. Symptoms include intense anxiety, inability to sleep, the “jerking of extremities,” and “bicycling in bed or just turning around and around.” Breggin comments that akathisia “may also contribute to the drug’s tendency to cause self-destructive or violent tendencies … Akathisia can become the equivalent of biochemical torture and could possibly tip someone over the edge into self-destructive or violent behavior … The June 1990 Health Newsletter, produced by the Public Citizen Research Group, reports, ‘Akathisia, or symptoms of restlessness, constant pacing, and purposeless movements of the feet and legs, may occur in 10-25 percent of patients on Prozac.’”

The well-known publication, California Lawyer, in a December 1998 article called “Protecting Prozac,” mentions other highly qualified critics of the drug: “David Healy, MD, an internationally renowned psychopharmacologist, has stated in sworn deposition that ‘contrary to Lilly’s view, there is a plausible cause-and-effect relationship between Prozac’ and suicidal-homicidal events. An epidemiological study published in 1995 by the British Medical Journal also links Prozac to increased suicide risk.”

When pressed, proponents of these SSRI drugs sometimes say, “Well, the benefits for the general population far outweigh the risk,” or, “Maybe in one or two tragic cases the dosage prescribed was too high.” But the problem will not go away on that basis. A shocking review-study published in The Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases (1996, v.184, no.2), written by Rhoda L. Fisher and Seymour Fisher, called “Antidepressants for Children,” concludes: “Despite unanimous literature of double-blind studies indicating that antidepressants are no more effective than placebos in treating depression in children and adolescents, such medications continue to be in wide use.”

In wide use. This despite such contrary information and the negative, dangerous effects of these drugs.

There are other studies: “Emergence of self-destructive phenomena in children and adolescents during fluoxetine treatment,” published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (1991, vol.30), written by RA King, RA Riddle, et al. It reports self-destructive phenomena in 14% (6/42) of children and adolescents (10-17 years old) who had treatment with fluoxetine (Prozac) for obsessive-compulsive disorder.

July, 1991. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Hisako Koizumi, MD, describes a thirteen-year-old boy who was on Prozac: “full of energy,” “hyperactive,” “clown-like.” All this devolved into sudden violent actions which were “totally unlike him.” [Sound like James Holmes?]

September, 1991. The Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Author Laurence Jerome reports the case of a ten-year old who moves with his family to a new location. Becoming depressed, the boy is put on Prozac by a doctor. The boy is then “hyperactive, agitated … irritable.” He makes a “somewhat grandiose assessment of his own abilities.” Then he calls a stranger on the phone and says he is going to kill him. The Prozac is stopped, and the symptoms disappear.

[What is true about Prozac is true about Paxil or Zoloft or any of the other SSRI antidepressants. And be warned: suddenly withdrawing from any psychiatric drug can be extremely dangerous to the patient. See www.breggin.com on this subject and how to handle it.]

Ritalin, manufactured by Novartis, is the close cousin to speed which is given to millions of American schoolchildren for a condition called Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), or ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADD and ADHD, for which no organic causes have ever been found, are touted as disease-conditions that afflict the young, causing hyperactivity, unmanageability, and learning problems. Of course, when you name a disorder or a syndrome and yet can find no single provable organic cause for it, you have nothing more than a loose collection of behaviors with an arbitrary title.

Correction: you also have a pharmaceutical bonanza.

Read the rest of the article here

To see a list of international drug advisory warnings and studies on psychiatric drugs and violence click here

To see a partial list of school shooters documented to be under the influence of psychiatric drugs, click here

To visit the psychiatric drug side effects search engine – click here 

 

The Aurora, Colorado Tragedy—Another Senseless Shooting, Another Psychotropic Drug?

As the world’s leading mental health watchdog, CCHR has for decades investigated hundreds of acts of senseless violence in coordination with the press and law enforcement as well as in legislative hearings, such as those held following the 1999 Columbine massacre (ringleader Eric Harris was found to be under the influence of the antidepressant Luvox, Dylan Klebold’s autopsy reports were never unsealed). And while there is never one simple explanation for what drives a human being to commit such unspeakable acts, all too often one common denominator has surfaced in hundreds of cases—prescribed psychotropic drugs which are documented to cause mania, psychosis, violence, suicide and in some cases, homicidal ideation.

 Between 2004 and 2011, there have been over 11,000 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system of psychiatric drug side effects related to violence. These include 300 cases of homicide, nearly 3,000 cases of mania and over 7,000 cases of aggression. (Note: By the FDA’s own admission, only 1-10% of side effects are ever reported to the FDA, so the actual number of side effects occurring are most certainly higher.)

There have been 22 international drug regulatory warnings issued on psychiatric drugs causing violence, mania, hostility, aggression, psychosis, and other violent type reactions. These warnings have been issued in the United States, European Union, Japan, United Kingdom, Australia and Canada.

In determining what would prompt James Holmes, identified as the 24-year-old gunman in the Aurora, Colorado shooting, to commit such a brutal and senseless crime, the press must ask the right questions, including: What, if any, prescribed psychotropic drugs Holmes may have been on (or in withdrawal from).

Click here for more.