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Duty to Warn: Guns and Drugs Don’t Mix

Duty to Warn: Guns and Drugs Don’t Mix

by Gary G. Kohls, MD
May 30, 2014

In my weekly columns I have frequently attempted to warn readers about the connections between brain-altering drugs (both illicit and prescribed) and a multitude of abnormal behaviors or crimes that drug-induced, and therefore brain-altered people are capable of committing - including irrational acts, thefts, assaults, homicidal violence and/or suicidality.

I have also attempted to warn readers about psychiatric drug neurotoxicity, psychiatric drug-induced dementia, psychiatric drug dependency/addiction, the reality of serious (even life-threatening) psychiatric drug withdrawal syndromes and the worrisome marriage between the psychopharmaceutical industry, the FDA and mainstream medicine. The information below lists dozens of reported cases of school shootings since 1988 (the year before Prozac was introduced to the US market) that were caused by previously non-homicidal patients who were on – or withdrawing from - prescription psychotropic drugs.

(Please note that this is not a comprehensive list, partly because most authorities investigating such shootings do not make inquiries about nor do they reveal what prescription drugs might have been involved. For a much more comprehensive list of antidepressant drug-related violence, check out

To read some of my previous columns on such topics, please check out the last 14 months of my Duty to Warn columns, archived at:

Recent School Shootings Linked to Psychopharmaceutical Drugs
May 20, 1988 - Winnetka, Illinois
Laurie Dann, age 30, walked into a second grade Hubbard Woods School classroom carrying three pistols killed an 8-year-old and wounded five others before fleeing. He was taking an antidepressant Anafranil (Clomipramine) for “OCD”.

September 26, 1988 - Greenwood, South Carolina
James Wilson, age 19, went on a shooting spree in an elementary schoolyard, killing two 8 year olds, and wounding 7 other children and 2 teachers. He was taking Xanax and several other psychiatric drugs.

September 17, 1992 - Houston, Texas
Calvin Charles Bell entered Piney Point Elementary School and opened fire. Two officers suffered gunshot injuries. He was on antidepressants.

December 17, 1993 - Chelsea, Michigan
Steven Lieth, a Chelsea High School teacher walked out of a staff meeting and returned with a gun killing one and wounding another. He had been takingantidepressants prescribed by a psychiatrist.

October 12, 1995 - Blackville, South Carolina
Toby Sincino walked into Blackville-Hilda High School, killed two teachers and then himself. He was taking the SSRI Zoloft.

February 2, 1996 - Moses Lake, Washington
Barry Loukaitis, age 14, shot and killed 2 students and 1 teacher and wounded 1 student in his algebra class. He was taking Ritalin at the time of the shooting.

October 1, 1997 - Pearl, Mississippi
Luke Woodham, age 16, killed 2 and wounded 7 students at Pearl High School. He was taking Prozac.

December 1, 1997 - West Paducah, Kentucky
Michael Carneal age 14, during a prayer meeting at a high school, killed 3 fellow students and wounded 5 other students.. He was on Ritalin.

March 24, 1998 - Jonesboro, Arkansas
Andrew Golden, age 11, and cousin Mitchell Johnson, age 13, went on a shooting spree at Westside Middle School, killing four students and one teacher. 9 students and another teacher were also wounded. Both boys were on Ritalin.

April 9, 1998 - Pocatello, Idaho
Mitchell Gushwa walked into Pocatello School with a gun and held several staff and students hostage. He was on Zoloft.

May 1, 1998 - Buffalo, New York
Juan Roman, age 37, an Erie County deputy sheriff, pursued his estranged wife into their children’s elementary school in Buffalo and shot her dead. He also shot an aide, but no children were hurt. He was taking antidepressants and seeing a psychiatrist.

May 21, 1998 - Springfield, Oregon
Kip Kinkel, age 15, killed 2 students, and wounded 22 others in the cafeteria at Thurston High School. He had been arrested and released a day earlier for bringing a gun to school. His parents were later found dead at home. He had been taking the antidepressant Prozac and amphetamine and had been attending anger control classes. He was under the care of a psychologist.

April 16, 1999 -Notus, Idaho
Shawn Cooper, age 15, fired two shotgun rounds in his school, narrowly missing students. He was taking a mix of SSRI antidepressants and Ritalin.

April 20, 1999 - Littleton, Colorado
Eric Harris, age 18, and Dylan Klebold, age 17, killed 14 students (including themselves) and one teacher. 23 others were wounded at Columbine High School. Harris was on the antidepressants Luvox and Zoloft, and had been seeing a psychiatrist before the shooting. Both shooters had been in anger-management classes and had undergone counseling. The autopsy results for Dylan Klebold were not disclosed but it is thought he was sharing Harris’s medications.

April 28, 1999 - Taber, Alberta, Canada
Todd Cameron Smith, age14 killed on student and injured another at W.R. Myers High School. He had taken Dexadrine.

May 20, 1999 - Conyers, Georgia
Thomas Solomon, age 15 shot and wounded 6 students injured at Heritage High School. He was taking Ritalin.

Dec. 6, 1999 - Fort Gibson, Oklahoma
Seth Trickey, age 13 wounded 4 students at Fort Gibson Middle School using a 9mm semiautomatic handgun. He was taking two psychotropic drugs.

January 10, 2001 -, age 17, Oxnard, California
Richard Lopez, age 17, took a fellow student hostage, and was later killed by police. He had taken Prozac and Paxil.

February 2, 2001 - Winterstown, PA
William Michael Stankewicz, wounded 3 adults and 11 children with a machete at North Hopewell-Winterstown Elementary School. For the prior 2 weeks, he had been taking 4 different medications to “stabilize” acute depression and anxiety.

March 7, 2001 - Williamsport, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Catherine Bush, age 14, wounded a fellow student at Bishop Neumann High School. She was on Paxil.

March 22, 2001 - Granite Hills, California
Jason Hoffman, age 18, shot and wounded 1 teacher and 3 students wounded at Granite Hills High School. He was taking the antidepressants Celexa and Effexor. He had been seeing a psychiatrist.
April 15, 2001 - Mattawa, Washington
Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, took a rifle to his Wahluke High School, and held 23 classmates and a teacher hostage. According to a student, “Cory was yelling and then he just stopped, looked down at the gun in his hand and woke up.” No one was hurt, and he had no memory of the incident. 21 days before the event, he had been taken off Paxil and prescribed a high dose of the drug Effexor. He was on the varsity basketball team, played football and golf, and was very popular in school. “Cory sat in jail for 14 months before finally being released based on expert testimony by psychiatrists that his behavior was an adverse reaction to the drugs he was prescribed.”

June 9, 2001 - Japan
Mamoru Takuma, age 37, stabbed to death 8 Ikeda Elementary School students and injured 13 others. He had taken 10 times the normal dosage of an antidepressant.

January 16, 2002 - Grundy, Virginia
Peter Odighizuwa killed 3 people at the Appalachian School of Law including the Dean, a professor and a student. He was withdrawing from an anti-depressant.

January, 2003 - Elliot City, Maryland
Ryan T. Furlough, age 19, killed a Centennial High School classmate by spiking his soda with cyanide. He was on Effexor.

February 9, 2004 - East Greenbush, New York
Jon Romano, age 16, shot and wounded a special education teacher. He was onPaxil and had been seeing a psychiatrist.

June, 2004 - Gloucester Township, NJ
A teenager at Highland High School carried loaded handguns to school, but shot no one. His thoughts of violence were linked to over-medication.

February 9, 2005 - Red Lion, Pennsylvania
John Meisky, age 16 attacked another student at Red Lion Area Senior High School with a knife. He was taking two prescription antidepressant medications.

March 21, 2005 - Red Lake, Minnesota
Jeff Weise, age 16, killed his grandfather and his grandfather’s girl friend at their home, then killed a teacher, a security guard, 5 students, and finally himself at Red Lake High School, leaving a total of 10 dead. He had previously spent about a year and a half in a residential juvenile treatment program and was on (60 mg! of)Prozac.

January 24, 2006 - Cave City, Arkansas
A 15-year-old student at Cave City School attempted to commit suicide at school by slitting his wrists. He had taken 4 different antidepressants.

February, 2006 - Memphis, Tennessee
Ladarious Guy, age 15, punched a teacher in the mouth at Memphis City High School. He had just recently started taking Zoloft.

April 24, 2006 - Hillsborough, NC
A student at East Chapel High School with a shotgun took a teacher and a fellow student hostage. He had just stopped taking antidepressants and antipsychotic medication.

August 30, 2006 - Hillsborough, North Carolina
Alvaro Castillo, age 19, shot and killed his father, then wounded two students at Orange High School before surrendering to police. Celexa and other medications were found in his personal effects.

September 13, 2006 - Montreal, Canada
Kimveer Gill, age 25, opened fire with a semiautomatic weapon at Dawson College. He killed 1 and injured 19 before killing himself. He had been depressed and was being treated at a local health clinic where he likely receivedantidepressants.

September 27, 2006 - Bailey, Colorado
Duane Morrison, Platte Canyon High School student, took 6 female students hostage, sexually assaulted them, then shot one of them in the back of the head before shooting himself. He was on an antidepressant medication.

September 29, 2006 - Cazenovia, Wisconsin
Eric Hainstock, a student at Weston High School, killed 1 person. He had been labeled with an ADHD diagnosis and was likely on Ritalin.

October 10, 2006 - Charleston, South Carolina
Tyrell Glover, age 19, took an air rifle to Burke High School where he planned to hold students hostage. He was gunned down by police. He had been on anantidepressant for several years and had switched to Prozac for the previous 6 months.

December 4, 2006 - Indiana
Travis Roberson, age 16, slit a classmate’s throat at Jennings County High School. He had recently missed an unknown number of doses of hisantidepressant.

January 3, 2007 - Tacoma, Washington
Douglas Chanthabouly, age 18, shot a fellow student at Henry Foss High School. He had been in a psychiatric hospital because of a suicide attempt and was on ananti-psychotic.

April 16, 2007 - Blacksburg, Virginia
Cho Seung-Hui, age 23, killed 32 fellow students and wounded 15 at Virginia Tech. He then killed himself. He was on prescription medications.

October 10, 2007 - Cleveland, Ohio
Asa H. Coon, age 14, wounded 2 students and 2 teachers and then killed himself. He had been taking the antidepressant Trazodone.

November 7, 2007 - Tyler, Texas
Felicia McMillan, age 17, stabbed a male student and the principal at Robert E. Lee High School. She was taking a medication for depression.

November 7, 2007 - Tuusula, Finland
Pekka-Eric Auvinen,age 18, shot and killed 7 students and the principal at Jokela High School. At least 10 others were injured. He then shot and kitted himself. He had Zoloft, Luvox and Prozac in his possession.

January 8, 2008 - Columbia, Tennessee
A 15 year-old student at Spring Hill High School brought a semi-automatic gun. He also had in his possession the. antidepressant Zoloft.

January 23, 2008 - Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
Brian Gilmore was arrested in the high school parking lot of Lake City High School with 3 stolen high powered rifles and ammunition. His mother stated that his psychiatric meds had “drastically” changed the teenager’s behavior, and his doctor had recently switched him to Prozac.

February 14, 2008 - DeKalb, Illinois
Stephen P. Kazmierczak a former graduate student at Northern Illinois University, killed 5 students and wounded 17 more in a NIU classroom. He then killed himself. He had been seeing a psychiatrist who him taking Prozac, Xanax and Ambien.

February 15, 2008 - Blackfoot, Idaho
Curtis Kofoed, age 16, took a handgun to Snake River High School, but did not shoot anybody. 8 hours later, he killed himself. He had depression problems in the past and was taking an antidepressant medication.

March 13, 2009 - Winnenden, Germany
Tim Kretschmer, age 17, shot and killed 15 people at Albertville Technical High School. He had been suffering from depression, and was on antidepressants.

August 28, 2008 - Boerne, Texas
Allen Doelitsch, age 18, was jailed for asking a 14-year-old friend to join him in a “Columbine-style” attack. He had been depressed and had recently stopped hisbipolar medication because of the side effects.

September 23, 2008 - Western Finland
Matti Saari, age 22, shot and killed 10 students at the Kauhajoki School of Hospitality before killing himself. Matti Saari was taking an SSRI and a benzodiazepine.

November 10, 2009 - Pine Plains, New York
Christopher Craft Sr., age 43, a graduate of Stissing High School, took Middle School Principal Robert Hess hostage with a shotgun. He been on Cymbalta for depression.

December 15, 2010 - Planoise, France
A 17 year-old with 2 swords held 20 pre-school children and their teacher hostage for 4 1/2 hours at Charles Fourier Preschool in Planoise, France. The teen was on medication for depression.

October 25, 2011 - Snohomish, Washington
A 15 year-old student at Snohomish High School stabbed two schoolmates with kitchen knives. She had been taking medication for depression.

February 5, 2012 - Huntsville, Alabama
Hammad Memon, age 15, shot and killed a Discover Middle School student. He had a history for being treated for ADHD and depression. He had been seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist for ADHD and depression and was taking theantidepressant Zoloft and “other drugs”.

December 14, 2012 - Newtown, Connecticut
Adam Lanza, age 24, killed his mother at her home and then killed 20 children and 6 staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. He apparently committed suicide at the scene. According to the Washington Post and other witnesses, Lanza was on a psychotropic medication.

Thanks to Ann Marie Michaels at for doing the hard work at compiling this partial list of drug-related school shootings. For much more on the sobering connections between irrational acts of violence and psychotropic drugs, check out the 6,000 or so examples at Also check out the powerful documentaries and psychiatrist Peter Breggin’s revelatory book Medication Madness (and his website at


Gary G. Kohls warns against the abrupt discontinuation of any psychiatric drug because of the common, often serious withdrawal symptoms that can occur with the chronic use of any dependency-inducing psychoactive drug, whether illicit or legal. Close consultation with an aware, informed physician who is hopefully familiar with dealing with drug withdrawal syndromes and the nutritional needs of the drug-toxified, drug-dependent and nutritionally-depleted brain.

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