News for Colorado

Psych Drug Found In Home Of Cañon City Murder-Suicide


A retired Cañon City police officer who shot and killed his wife before taking his own life had been prescribed a psychiatric drug with known side effects of severely abnormal behavior, emotional changes, and disturbing thoughts or behavior that could involve suicide or harm to others.

In a crime that shocked this small community, Daniel Samento, who served 30 years on the police force before retiring, shot his wife, Priscilla, a Cañon City police dispatcher, in the head with a handgun while she slept, then fatally turned the gun on himself.

According to the police report of the incident, the antidepressant Wellbutrin, prescribed to Daniel Samento for depression, was found in the home.  The drug, which takes about 4½ days to leave the body, was not found in his body at the time of the autopsy.

We do not know the details concerning any use or discontinuation of the drug by him, and we will never know how his problems may have affected his mental state.

But we should not overlook a possible link with the psych drug prescribed to him, whose known side effects could be viewed as consistent with the characterizations in the police report of Mr. Samento quickly going into a downward spiral, acting schizophrenic-like at times, and threatening suicide.

According to online drug reference website, depressed patients treated with Wellbutrin have had a variety of neuropsychiatric side effects, including delusions, hallucinations, psychosis, concentration disturbance, paranoia, and confusion.

A search of “Wellbutrin” in CCHR International’s psych drug side effects search engine shows that in recent years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, United Kingdom Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, and Health Canada all ordered stronger public warnings about serious side effects of this drug, including abnormal behavior, emotional changes, aggression, violence, depressed mood, and impulsive or disturbing thoughts that could involve self-harm or harm to others.

These kinds of serious behavioral changes can also become evident when a dose is adjusted up or down, or when the drug is discontinued abruptly.

Psychiatric treatment and psychiatric drugs are a common denominator in a growing number of shootings and other acts of violence – events which are soaring right along with the soaring use of psych drugs. 

Only by reporting adverse drug reactions will the harm being done by psychiatric drugs be known.  MedWatch is the federal reporting system for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.  Please report adverse drug reactions to MedWatch by clicking here.

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 violence or other harmful side effects from a psychiatric 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.


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