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Top 10 Legal Drugs Linked to Violence

Lisa Garber
December 23rd, 2012
Updated 09/11/2014 at 9:31 pm
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violencepillsgun 260x162 Top 10 Legal Drugs Linked to ViolenceIt’s no surprise that Adam Lanza was on heavy-duty pharmaceuticals, as was Aurora shooter James Holmes, the Columbine shooters, Ted Kaczinski the Unambomber, and many more. Many of the drugs handed out to troubled individuals have troubled histories in Food and Drug Administration testing themselves, and come with a list of side effects including hostility, aggression, confusional states, and impulse-control disorders.

There is nothing about these drugs that should make them so easily prescribed by doctors whose pockets are being lined by the likes of GlaxoSmithKline, which was recently fined for faking research and for 14 infant deaths in illegal vaccine testing. To decry their use in toto, however, might be irresponsible, since violent behavior is linked to these drugs.

But perhaps partially so because those using it were prone to violence, anyway, and perhaps not due to the drugs themselves. In example, someone with a history of violent behavior addicted to opiod medications like Oxycontin may turn to violence to sustain their addiction, or a schizophrenic already leaning toward violent tendencies may, regardless of the drug’s intended consequences, be violent anyway.

Most of us, however, are better off without the aid of bank-breaking, mind-crushing pharmaceuticals and are better off addressing emotional issues and even some neurochemical imbalances with nutrition, sunlight, exercise, sleep, a little help from those around us, and stress management. This list of drugs, published in the journal PLoS One and based on the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System, shows which are most linked to violent behavior.

  • 10. Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) is an antidepressant associated with 7.9 times more violence than many other drugs.
  • 9. Venlafaxine (Effexor) is related to Pristiq and is an antidepressant also used in treating those with anxiety disorders. Effexor is 8.3 times more associated with violent behavior than other drugs.
  • 8. Fluvoxamine (Luvox) is an antidepressant that affects serotonin (SSRI), and is 8.4 times more likely to be linked to violence than other medications
  • 7. Triazolam (Halcion) can be addictive and is a benzodiazepine that supposedly treats insomnia. It’s 8.7 times more likely to be associated with violence than other medications.
  • 6. Atomoxetine (Strattera) is often prescribed to tread ADHD and is 9 times more likely to be associated with violence.
  • 5. Mefoquine (Lariam) treats malaria and sometimes products bizarre behavior, and is 9.5 times more likely to be linked to violence.
  • 4. Amphetamines come in many forms and are often used to treat ADHD (even to children not diagnosed with ADHD). They are 9.6 times more likely to be linked to violence.
  • 3. Paroxetine (Paxil) is an SSRI antidepressant. Many users experience severe withdrawal symptoms and are more likely to produce children with birth defects as well as 10.3 times more likely to be linked to violence than other medications.
  • 2. Fluoxetine (Prozac) is a household name for a powerful SSRI antidepressant linked with 10.9 times more violence than other drugs.
  • 1. Varenicline (Chantix) is administered to smokers to supposedly help curb cigarette cravings, but it’s a whopping 18 times more likely to be linked to violent behavior than other drugs.

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  • study methods

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  • marla mcneill

    so what are we to do when our children are being used as human guinea pigs…..the rehab company called value options here in arizona went out of business due to the fact they were not valid and just handing out anything to anyone… they are covered with another company here…..don't remember the name of it but what does department of defense have to do with applying for a job in rehabilitation in arizona… is called tricare and in order to apply you must have a paper from the dod????

  • Ixenia

    When you say "8.5 times more liked to being violent" — what do you mean? 8.5 times more violence-linked than WHAT? Not being careful about what your standard of comparison is here gives an aura of sloppy research. Thanks very much if you could clarify…

    • Penelope

      I agree with Ixenia. Your reports are SO interesting and relevant, but this "8.5 times more violence linked" sounds like nothing but hot air unless you add "compared with . . . . . "

      • Joel

        Folks, t is less important to research or quibble over slippery statistics of ordinal listings than it is to become aware of what we don’t know. Now we know what we don’t know – that is, we know that bigpharma MASSIVELY suppresses the association of particular drugs with these events. see
        Have you noticed most of the hysteria is over guns? How about a simple 2-variable spread sheet: Name of top 10 violence-inducing drugs across the top, individual mass murderers down the side, with a checkbox matrix. Which ones were each on? So much conversation I feel is moot without the answer in a spreadsheet form. It’s ESSENTIAL to see this; I doubt we ever will. Yes, alcohol is highly correlated with violence; we have every incident publicized. The opposite is true with psychotropic drugs. In other words, no matter how high or low the association of psych meds with violence actually is, very few know it’s true proportions and it’s hard or impossible to acquire this information. It’s the 800-lb gorilla in the room.

  • Cashmere

    When I admitted myself to the mental health ward the doc said he was going to give me a med to help me sleep and gave me an order for zyprexa I just found out its an anti psychosis ! I wonder how often they say these pills are for sleeping but truly are not, it's not cool that you can't trust people who claim they want to help you.

  • Tyranny

    The rumor that Adam was on Fanapt was started by A Former Federal Medical Prisoner named Jonathan Lee Riches who is known as 'the most litigious man' and was suspected for mail fraud involving James Holmes. Here is a video with some of the evidence. It has also been reported by multiple sources that the police have not found any evidence thus far that Adam was on meds.… So if the police are covering this up what is going on here.

  • GPA

    Mental illness, medications and school shootings: Preventing another Sandy Hook

  • Patrick Monk.RN.

    Right on,
    Alcohol is the #1 legal drug linked to violence.
    "Legal" drugs, of all kinds, are probably close to the top of the list of substances responsible for violence and 'preventable' deaths not resulting from sickness and disease.
    Marijuana is probably the #1 drug, legal or illegal, NOT linked to violence.
    Follow the money and links between 'Big Pharma' and the FDA/USDA.
    Patrick Monk.RN. SF. Ca.

  • JC1


    • Joel

      Far more people are aware of the disinhibition of violent tendencies via alcohol than they are via prescription psychotropic drugs. This awareness is massively suppressed by the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, there cannot be too many of these articles revealing the huge margin of unpredictability in the ingestion of psych meds.

      • dobbie606

        so That's why this stuff is handed out like candy to all those in the military: these are all 'kill 'em pep pills'…