Was it the Meds?

Lost amidst the anti-gun clamor following the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School is the possibility that it may have occurred not because of easy access to guns but to the alleged perpetrator's use of psychiatric drugs. There are unconfirmed reports (from an uncle and a neighbor) that Adam Lanza was medicated at the time of the attack, perhaps taking the anti-psychotic drug Fanapt. If that turns out to be the case, he will join a dismaying list of school shooters and other cold-blooded murderers who were taking or withdrawing from various psychotropic drugs. (See also here.)

Of course, there is a legitimate question of causation here. If someone is prescribed psychotropic drugs, there are pre-existing psychological issues that may make a person more disposed to violence. Still, the list of side effects of Fanapt lends support to the theory that it can lead to violent actions: "restlessness, aggression, and delusion have been reported frequently. Hostility... confusional state, mania, catatonia, mood swings, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder... delirium... impulse-control disorder, and major depression have been reported infrequently." At the Huffington Post, psychiatrist Peter Breggin provides anecdotal evidence of patients who became violent while taking psychiatric drugs and who never "perpetrated again after stopping the offending medication."

Less than a year ago, American Thinker published an article of mine in which I cited a lack of parental involvement as a contributing factor to Alyssa Bustamente's horrible murder of a young child. In retrospect, I should have taken more seriously published accounts of her use of Prozac. This is not to minimize the personal responsibility of those who commit acts of violence, but simply to suggest that others may be complicit in these acts through their own ignorance or moral failings.

President Obama and Democrats in Congress are ready to exploit this tragedy in order to achieve their goal of outlawing guns. This is to ignore evidence that guns are not the cause of such tragedies, and evidence that supports the idea that psychiatric drugs may well be a contributing factor. To my mind, the one good thing that could come out of this awful event is that it would cause the medical profession and the American people as a whole to reflect on the possible unintended consequences of our increased reliance on psychiatric drugs.