Psychiatric Drugs and Mass Shooters: Should a study examine risks?

Lawmaker Calls For Study To Examine Link Between Mass Shooters And Psychiatric Drugs

A Nevada lawmaker has called for an investigatory study into whether or not there could be a link between psychiatric drugs and mass shooters. In the wake of the recent murders at the rural Oregon community college, Republican Assemblywoman Michele Fiore says that she would like a scientific study into psychiatric drugs, because she says lawmakers must act to try to end mass shootings.

Fiore has been a defender of the Second Amendment and says that even though guns are being blamed for mass shootings, she believes the real trigger could be the pills in the medicine cabinet.

She pointed out the anecdotal evidence of past mass shooters and their use of psychiatric drugs. Fiore wants to know more about the side effects and risks of treating mental illness with psychiatric drugs.

“We should really be focusing on the root of the problem: mental illness. I urge everyone to educate themselves on mental illness and the drugs that doctors are so quick to prescribe, because knowing the signs and side effects of these could save lives; banning guns will not,” Fiore wrote on her website. “Today’s victims and their families will be in my thoughts and prayers, and I will continue my work to raise awareness of the dangers of gun-free zones and the dangers of the drugs that are prescribed.”

In Oregon, the mass shooter was armed with body armor, extra ammunition, and more than a dozen weapons, according to Channel 3 News, but the Nevada lawmaker points out he was also likely under the influence of psychiatric drugs. The shooter had a screen name on social media of “lithium love.” Lithium, of course, is a psychiatric drug. Also on social media, the mass shooter posted that he had multiple pills in front of him, and that he would take them all. Law enforcement in Oregon claims that the mass shooter was struggling with mental illness and he graduated from a school for children with learning and emotional special needs. Fiore says that psychiatric drugs are medically known to sometimes cause violence, suicide, and homicides.

Fiore wants more concrete evidence that psychiatric drugs work and are worth any risks.

“We have to look into what is being prescribed and what is in these meds just like clinical studies. Why don’t we do studies on the medication all of these shooters were taking and take that medication off the market? Obviously, medications can alter your mind just as alcohol can alter the mind.”

Fiore has been in the news before in association with her strong constitutional-based political platform. She sponsored a bill in Nevada in order to fight an existing law that prohibited people who legally carried a firearm to foster children. She also introduced what was known as the “Bundy Bill,” which was legislation favored by Nevada ranchers led by Cliven Bundy. While The American Psychological Association stated that there is not usually a link between mental illness and crime, Fiore isn’t the only one who suspects that psychiatric drugs are at the root of mass shooters’ mad final acts.

Tweets and Facebook shares indicate that plenty of people suspect that psychiatric drugs might have a causal link to mass shooters’ killing sprees, though most point out that the mass shooters were likely mentally ill with violent thoughts before going on pharmaceutical medications. Where do you stand? Do you think a study should be conducted looking at whether the anecdotes might have substance behind them? Do you think it’s possible that ordinary people with typical mental illnesses can be turned into mass shooters when given particular psychiatric drugs?

[Stock photo via Pixabay]

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