This anti-depressants and violence infographic explores the possible link between anti-depressant pills and mass killings.
Anti-Depressants and Violence
Exploring the possible link between anti-depressant pills and mass killings
Discovery: A timeline of the most popular psychotropic drugs
- 1958: Tofranil: the first “miracle” cure for depression
- 1987: Prozac
- 1990: Zolof
- 1992: Paxil
Are we a Prozac Nation?
- 1989: 2.5 million prescriptions for Prozac written
- 1990: Annual sales of Prozac top $1 billion a year
- 1992: 33.2 million scripts written
Linkage to Violence: Theory or Fact?
In a scientific sampling that followed 25,000 people:
- 1 in 250: Number of people taking Paxil or Prozac involved in a violent episode.
- 14 million: Number of Paxil prescriptions written in 2011
- 25.5 million: Number of Prozac prescriptions written in 2011
- 158,000 incidents, potentially: if you accept the 1 in 250 number, it equates to possibly 158,000 anti-depressant drug-induced violent incidents
- Between 2004 and 2012, there have been 14,773 reports to the U.S. FDA’s MedWatch system on psychiatric drugs causing violent side effects
- These people were on anti-depressant pills and killed.
Examples of Recent Mass Killings
- Laurie Dann (1988) Dann went on a shooting rampage in a second-grade classroom in IL, killing one child. She was on Anafranil.
- Joseph T. Wesbecker (1989) 47-year-old Wesbecker, shot 20 workers at Standard Gravure Corp. in Louisville, Ky., killing nine. He was on Prozac.
- Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold (1999) Columbine mass-killer Eric Harris was taking Luvox, a modern and widely prescribed Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors, or SSRIs.
- Larry Gene Ashbrook (1999) On Sept. 15, 1999, Ashbrook murdered seven people at a concert by Christian Rock group Forty Days at Wedgwood Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Ashbrook was on Prozac.
- Jeff Weise (2005) In 2005, 16-year-old Native American Weise, living on Minnesota’s Red Lake Indian Reservation, shot and killed nine people before killing himself. Weise was on Prozac.
- Seung-Hui Cho (2007) Seung-Hui Cho was a Korean spree killer who killed 32 on April 16, 2007: the “Virginia Tech massacre.” Cho was on Prozac.
- James Holmes (2012): Colorado movie theater shooter kills 12. He was on Zoloft.
- Aaron Ybarra (2014) kills one at Seattle Pacific University. He was on Prozac at the time.
Fact: Justice Robert Heinrichs of the Manitoba Justice Department ruled that anti-depressants can cause children to be violent.
And yet, it must also be noted that most users of psychotropic drugs do not kill; but some do. Does the taking of psychotropic drugs contribute to mass murders?