What do nearly all mass shooters have in common since this recent spike in shootings? Most if not nearly all of them were prescribed some type of psychiatric medication. The world has recently been shaken to its core by the mass shooting carried out by 19-year-old Nikolas Cruz at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to the Sun Sentinel, Nikolas Cruz was being treated for multiple psychiatric disorders and was on medication.
The Sun Sentinel is reporting on Cruz’s psychiatric history:
His mother, Lynda Cruz, told investigators that her son had been diagnosed with autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was being treated for depression, had a behavioral disorder and had been taking medication for the ADHD, the report said. Investigators wrote that they did not know whether he was still taking the medication.
Nikolas Cruz isn’t the only mass shooter who was prescribed medication or had medication in their system when they perpetrated when of these horrible shootings. Sadly, one thing school shooters all seem to have in common is that they were diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and given psychiatric medications to treat it.
CBS reports that Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter, was prescribed medication that led to even more problems…
Documents released by police in December 2013 included descriptions of sporadic treatment for his mental health troubles. At one point, experts at the Yale Child Studies Center prescribed antidepressant/anti-anxiety medication, but his mother discontinued the treatment after her son was unable to raise his arm after taking the medicine and never scheduled follow-up visits, police reports said.
This trend isn’t new, with CNN reporting in 1999 about the Columbine shooter Eric Harris’ relationship with anti-depressants…
Reports surfaced Wednesday that one of the gunmen in the Littleton, Colorado, school shooting, Eric Harris, was rejected by Marine Corps recruiters days before the Columbine High School massacre because he was under a doctor’s care and had been prescribed an anti-depressant medication.
Mass shooters of every age have been found to have traces of psychiatric medication in their blood…
This trend is not exclusive to just school shooters. CNN reports that an autopsy on the Las Vegas Shooter, Stephen Paddock, showed that there was anti-anxiety medication in his system when he massacred 58 innocent people and injured over 850 others.
Reuters has previously reported that Pulse Nightclub shooter Omar Mateen would stay up all night researching psychiatric medication. One acquaintance told Reuters that Mateen was “obsessed” with looking up the medication online and that the obsession only intensified in the weeks prior to the shooting.
Fort Hood gunman Ivan Lopez was on a “cocktail of prescription drugs,” according to The Telegraph. The article goes on to explain that the soldier had been prescribed anti-depressants along with the sleeping medication Ambien.
According to a CNN report, James Holmes who was responsible for the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting was prescribed multiple medications including Clonazepam and Sertraline.
BBC spoke with Professor David Healy about the Aurora movie theater shootings, and he believes the connection between the medication and mass killings is no coincidence…
These killings would never have happened had it not been for the medication James Holmes had been prescribed.”
Professor Peter Tyrer told the BBC that the medications James Holmes was prescribed could have exacerbated his condition…
His symptoms were exactly right for giving sertraline… but with his underlying personality, with that sort of person… some of the underlying predispositions can come out more strongly, and in the case of Holmes these were very dangerous indeed.
The list goes on and on…
Myron May, who went on a shooting spree at Florida State University’s Strozier Liberary in 2014 was reportedly on a combination of Wellbutrin and Vyvanse.
University of Texas student Kendrex J. White was reportedly on Zoloft when he went on a stabbing spree on campus that killed one person and injured three last year.
Aaron Ybarra who went on a rampage with a shotgun at Seattle Pacific University in 2014 was reportedly on “a lot of medication” which included Risperdal and Prozac. Ybarra claimed he could hear the voice of Eric Harris, the Columbine shooter who was prescribed similar medication.
12-year-old Jose Reyes who went on a shooting spree at his middle school was reportedly prescribed a generic form of Prozac by his local psychotherapist before taking a 9mm handgun to school and using it to kill his teacher and wound two others before taking his own life.
The Washington Post also reported that the Navy Yard shooter Aaron Alexis was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone before he went on to shoot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard.
While a vast majority if not all of the recent mass shooters have taken these medications, the medical community claims that there is no scientific evidence to connect homicidal behavior and the use of these drugs. Doctors and pharmaceutical companies continue to claim that these medications are safe to use. However, many are questioning the concurrent spike in deadly shootings by mentally ill people and the increase in the prescription of psychiatric drugs.