The effects of psychoactive drugs should be part of the mass shooting discussion
We do not know if Robert Crimo III, the confessed Highland Park Fourth of July parade shooter, was on psychoactive drugs when he murdered but we do know that police were called to his home for suicidal behavior and that he was remanded to the psychiatric system.
Mass shooters in the U.S. tend to be young, obsessive, male loners and many have been prescribed psychoactive drugs. For example, Eric Harris, one of the two shooters at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado in 1999 which ushered in the current spate of mass shootings, was on the psychotropic drug Luvox. Prescribing information for the antidepressant says, “Close supervision of patients and in particular those at high risk should accompany drug therapy.”
Jeff Weise who fatally shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and seven people at the Red Lake Senior High School in 2005, was on the well known antidepressant Prozac.
Two years later Cho Seung-Hui perpetrated the Virginia Tech murders and was also found to be on psychoactive antidepressants.
“We urgently need a national debate about guns. But we also urgently need a national debate about the epidemic of mood-altering drugs being prescribed to young Americans,” wrote Arianna Huffington in 2007 after the Virginia Tech mass shooting in which 32 perished.
The following year, in 2008, another university was targeted. Steven Kazmierczak fatally shot seven at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb. He had also been prescribed Prozac which he had recently stopped.