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.
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