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News for Colorado

Suspect In Deadly Westminster Road-Rage Shooting Started Taking Psychiatric Drug Earlier That Day

The man charged in the June 14 shooting in a Westminster parking lot that killed one boy and wounded three other people in an apparent road rage incident told police he had started taking a prescribed psychiatric drug the day of the incident.

Jeremy John Webster, 23, allegedly shot a 13-year-old boy to death, critically injured the boy’s mother and 8-year-old brother, and wounded an unrelated man in a nearby pickup truck.

A third son in the family, who was able to run away, told police that after his mother and Webster had an argument at a nearby intersection, Webster followed the family’s vehicle into a parking lot, where the shooting occurred.

Westminster police say Webster did not know any of the victims.  Before this incident, Webster had never been charged with a crime in Colorado.

The Denver Channel reports that a search warrant affidavit in the case says Webster told police he “has mental health issues and just started a new prescribed medication.”

It is not known whether Webster may also have been on other psychiatric drugs.

If the criminal allegations and the report of Webster’s psychiatric drug use are true, the shooting would become the latest in a long line of acts of extreme violence linked to psychiatric drugs.

Psychiatric drugs have well-known side effects of aggression, violence and even homicidal thoughts.

Psychiatric drugs were found disproportionately linked to acts of violence in a 2010 analysis of prescription drug side-effects data from the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system.

There are at least 28 warnings from international drug regulatory agencies and numerous research studies concerning the violence-related effects of psychiatric drugs.

WARNING: Anyone wishing to discontinue or to change the dose of a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous, even life-threatening mental and physical withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk with you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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General News

Las Vegas Shooter Prescribed Same Psychiatric Drug As John Hinckley and University of Texas Tower Shooter

The same psychiatric drug linked to the Las Vegas shooting massacre, in which at least 58 people were killed and 489 wounded, is linked to two of the highest-profile shootings in U.S. history: the 1981 attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan and the 1966 University of Texas Tower shooting.

Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was prescribed diazepam, sold under the brand name Valium, in June and purchased the drug the same day it was prescribed, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Diazepam was also prescribed for John Hinckley Jr. before his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.  Hinckley’s lawyer has said Hinckley’s mental condition deteriorated while taking the drug, and he believes the diazepam made Hinckley more dangerous.

In 1966, in the first mass shooting to rock the nation, Valium was prescribed to Charles Whitman, the University of Texas Tower shooter, who stabbed his wife and mother to death the night before climbing a tower on the UT campus and gunning down passers-by, killing 15 and wounding 31.

Diazepam is supposed to treat anxiety, but it can have the opposite effect.  When it does, the side effects include increased anxiety, agitation, aggressiveness, delusions, nightmares, hallucinations, instability, rage, and psychosis, according to FDA-approved drug information.

Paddock’s girlfriend reportedly described behavior to investigators that indicates Paddock was suffering, possibly from such side effects.  She said he would lie in bed, moaning and screaming, “Oh, my God,” according to a former FBI official who was briefed on the matter.

Diazepam belongs to the drug class benzodiazepine.

Peter Breggin, M.D., a psychiatrist who has been involved in criminal and civil cases related to a number of mass murders, writes:  “For decades, it has been known that benzodiazepines like Valium, Xanax and Klonopin can cause impulsivity, disinhibition, or loss of self-control resulting in violence.”

A link to violence was found in a 2010 analysis of side-effects data from the Food and Drug Administration’s adverse event reporting system.  Diazepam was identified as one of the 31 prescription drugs most linked to acts of violence reported to the FDA.

We do not know how the psychiatric drug(s) Paddock was prescribed may have caused or contributed to his monstrous killing spree and the self-violence of taking his own life.

But we do know that the Las Vegas massacre joins a long list of shootings committed by perpetrators with a history of psychiatric drug “treatment.”

Two of the deadliest shooting rampages with links to psychiatric drugs happened here in Colorado:  at Columbine High School in 1999 and at an Aurora movie theater in 2012.

Only by fully investigating mind-altering psychiatric drugs’ known links to violence and homicide can we hope to prevent such tragic bloodshed in the future.

Warning: Anyone wishing to discontinue a psychiatric drug is cautioned to do so only under the supervision of a competent medical doctor because of potentially dangerous and even life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know has been harmed by psychiatric drugs, we want to talk with you.  You can contact us by clicking here or by calling 303-789-5225.  All information will be kept in the strictest confidence.

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News for Colorado

Remember What Unleashed The Hatred Of The Aurora Theater Shooter

On the occasion of today’s 5-year remembrance of the July 20, 2012 mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater that killed 12 people and wounded 70 others, remember the chilling words of the shooter which foreshadowed the massacre: “Hatred unchecked,” “no fear of consequences.”

Then consider the events that led up to shooter James Holmes writing these ominous words in a personal notebook.

Holmes, a graduate student at the University of Colorado, contacted the campus mental health center for help with his obsessive thoughts of killing people and his anxiety in social situations.

The psychiatrist who met with him immediately prescribed psychiatric drugs linked to aggression, violence and homicide, including the SSRI antidepressant Zoloft.

Within weeks, Holmes had written an alarming series of statements in the notebook where he recorded his thoughts during his psychiatric treatment:  “First appearance of mania occurs, not good mania.  Anxiety and fear disappears.  No more fear….  No fear of consequences…  No more fear, hatred unchecked.”

Peter Breggin, M.D., a Harvard-trained psychiatrist who has been involved as an expert with a number of cases of mass murder, has written that “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.

“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.”

At least 34 research studies and 26 warnings issued by international drug regulatory authorities have warned about the dangers of SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft.

Zoloft is also on the list of the prescription drugs most associated with the incidents of violence that have been reported to the FDA, according to a 2010 study in the Public Library of Science ONE.

Only by fully investigating psychiatric drugs’ known links to violence and homicide can we hope to prevent such tragic bloodshed in the future.

Warning: Anyone wishing to discontinue an antidepressant or any other psychiatric drug 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 become violent from taking an SSRI antidepressant 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.

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News for Colorado

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.