Dr. Peter R. Breggin, psychiatrist and leading expert in the field of anti-depressant induced mass murders said, "It's premature, really at this point," to determine if psychiatric medicines such as anti-depressants were being taken by Stephen Paddock.
Author of more than 20 books and publications including Medication Madness: The role of Psychiatric drugs in cases of Violence, Suicide, and Murder, Breggin said just because we know the mass murderer was taking benzodiazepines, "doesn't tell us a lot yet," the doctor stated but later explained it should be a starting point in the search for explanations.
In a Free Thought Project exclusive, Dr. Breggin acknowledged that sedatives such as Diazepam are often given in conjunction with anti-depressants. He said doctors do so;
Often because the anti-depressant tends to be stimulating and doctors have learned that, and they often give a sedating drug (such as Diazepam) along with them (anti-depressants).
Anti-depressants have often been blamed by families of those accused of homicide and mass murder, and even by the murderers themselves. David Crespi, a Matthews, NC banker is one such person. In 2006, Crespi was at one minute playing with his daughters, and the next minute he was stabbing his two twin daughters to death. According to WSOC TV9,
he and his family appeared in a Danish documentary in 2013, in which he insisted, as he has for years, that his decision to chase his young daughters through the house before stabbing them a total of 32 times was the result of a psychotic episode brought on by prescription medication he was taking to treat depression.
If Americans are in shock with Paddock's actions they only need to be reminded of another mass murderer who killed nearly three times as many people as Paddock. Andreas Lubitz, pilot of Germanwings flight 9525, killed all 150 of the passengers aboard his plane when he flew it into a mountain in the French Alps. According to reports, Lubitz was taking several anti-depressants including Celexa, at the time he flew his passenger plane under controlled flight into terrain. According to Forbes, along with Lorazepam, Lubitz was taking:
- Mirtazapine--the generic name for Remeron, an atypical antidepressant that affects norepinephrine and serotonin neurotransmission but is not a reuptake inhibitor for either transmitter.
- Escitalopram--the active stereoisomer of citalopram (Celexa) and generic name for Lexapro. Escitalopram is a serotonin-selective reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) that is conditionally permitted for pilot use by the U.S. FAA.
- Zolpidem--the generic name for the nonbenzodiazepine sleeping pill sold as Ambien.
- Zopiclone--the active stereoisomer of zolpidem (Ambien) and generic name for Lunesta.
- Dominal forte--the German brand name for prothipendyl hydrochloride, a mixed antipsychotic and insomnia drug not available in the U.S. Prothipendyl belongs to the phenothiazines, a class of early antipsychotic drugs that includes chlorpromazine (Thorazine).
As Americans search for an answer to the question 'why' Paddock did what he did, some people believe investigators need to look further into his own medicine cabinet for a pharmaceutical drug which can take an ordinary person and transform them into a killer. Some experts believe that serotonin-syndrome is what can make an ordinary person suddenly become homicidal. Many believe serotonin-syndrome can be caused by something as simple as starting to take, ceasing, or re-starting anti-depressants.
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While much speculation surrounds the motivations behind Paddock's murderous rampage with legally obtained weapons, the expert on anti-depressant side effects has spent years unraveling the Columbine high school shooting and he believes anti-depressants bear the weight of the burden.
"I've been involved in several cases as an expert witness," Breggin stated to TFTP in a telephone interview. In the Columbine shooting, specifically with, "Eric Harris. I was able to confirm that Harris was taking Luvox right up until the time of the shooting. He had a 'therapeutic level' right up to the time of the shooting according to the coroner's report and in Solvay's report to the FDA." (Solvay is the maker of the drug Luvox).
The doctor continued, "I've seen both of those reports. Harris had some recent increase in the drug, which is common before things get worse and worse. We know that when he was put on the Luvox there was no evidence that he was violent at that time. But we know that the violence grows over time," he added.
Dr. Breggin, the world's foremost expert on anti-depressant induced homicides and suicides also commented on James Holmes' use of anti-depressants. Holmes is infamously known as the Aurora, Colorado mass murderer. On July, 20, 2012, he killed 12 people, wounding dozens more. Dr. Breggin reflected on Holmes and revealed the inside story behind his murderous rampage.
"When he went to the doctor telling her he had homicidal thoughts and feelings, she put him on Zoloft. It was after he goes on Zoloft that he developed those manic-like psychotic life plans. These drugs (SSRI's - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, AKA anti-depressants) can produce psychotic behavior," the doctor maintained.
"We know that he stopped on June 30th and that he was in his full blown state of psychosis and twenty days later he goes on to conduct the violence." Stopping short of blaming anti-depressants directly, especially without first confirming Paddock was taking them, Dr. Breggin would go so far as to say, "It appears that drugs are involved in many and many of these cases."
As detectives, members of the media, and the public, all try and sort out the reasons behind the mayhem, mangling, and murder, Dr. Breggin's final comments attempted to put it all in perspective. "All I can say is it should be one of the first things we look for."
One doesn't have to look far. There's evidence Paddock was already taking Valium. Dr. Breggin acknowledged as much when he said, "Lo and behold we have some evidence reported from the local press and that it was reported officially in the state's PMP (Prescription Monitoring Program)." Paddock was taking downers, quite possibly to counter-act the upper affect prescription anti-depressants were having on his mind.
Before it's all said and done, Paddock's name may be written alongside Crespi, Lubitz, Harris, and Holmes as murderers, adversely affected by prescription anti-depressants, already known to cause suicidal actions, homicidal ideations, and violent behaviors.