RxISK asks: Are prescription drugs to blame for school shootings?

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The recent Connecticut massacre and other mass killings have focused the current debate on gun control. In this recent interview, which follows up on Dr Healy's talk in New York City at a RxISK Forum On School Shootings 10 days ago, Healy explains why we need to have a serious discussion about the role that common US prescription drugs might have played.

Violence and Extreme Acts Zone

Rx Drug Induced Violence?

About 90 per cent of school shooters in North America and Europe were being treated with a prescription drug

RxISK.org, the first free independent website for researching and reporting prescription drug side effects, interviews Dr. David Healy, co-founder of RxISK.org, on the connection between school shootings and prescription drugs. In the video, Dr. Healy explains how prescription drugs can lead to school shootings, and what can be done to help solve this problem.

A person who commits a school shooting is usually regarded as the perpetrator, but this may be a mistake, according to Dr. Healy, a world-renowned psychiatrist and psychopharmacologist. Dr. Healy has acted as an expert witness in high-profile trials where violent acts and prescription drugs were linked, and says the school shooter is often the victim too—the victim of a prescription drug.

About 90 per cent of school shooters in North America and Europe were being treated with a prescription drug, according to Dr. Healy, usually an antidepressant or mood stabilizer. For as many as one in five people, these drugs can “make you more anxious and more agitated.” This includes developing thoughts of harming yourself or others.

Critics often argue that untreated mental illness is the cause of these violent acts, but this isn’t the case, according to Dr. Healy. “Almost all of them are on treatment.”

Dr. Healy says the public doesn’t hear about the connection between prescription drugs and violent events, such as school shootings, because “regulators look for any other possible reason why this could have happened.”

“They will not blame the drug. Nor will the [pharmaceutical] company, nor will any of the academics that are linked to the company… but we have compelling evidence that these drugs can cause the problem.”

Dr. Healy encourages people to visit RxISK.org if they believe they, or someone they know, are experiencing prescription-drug-induced violence. Here, they can discover whether others experienced the same side effect, while on the same prescription drug.

“It becomes a lot easier to believe that the drug has caused you the problem if you become aware that there are hundreds of people who have [experienced] the same thing on the drug you are on.”

About Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd.
RxISK.org is owned and operated by Data Based Medicine Americas Ltd. (DBM), based in Toronto, Canada. DBM's founders have international reputations in early drug-side-effect detection and risk mitigation, pharmacovigilance, and patient-centered care. Although drug side effects are known to be a leading cause of death and disability, less than 5% of serious drug side effects are reported. DBM’s mission is to capture this missing data directly from patients through RxISK.org’s free drug side effect reporting tool and use this data to help make medicines safer for all of us.
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