In the wake of the mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump called for reform of mental health laws. In his 10-minute speech at the White House, the president spoke of the combination of mental illness and violence, “Mental illness and hatred pull the trigger, not the gun.”

Mass killings have been increasing over the past 30 years, just how much of the violence we have seen over the past decades, including all the mass shootings, suicides, and other violent episodes of people’s behavior, is connected to substance abuse, medication, and alcohol that susceptible individuals are consuming?  Not everyone who takes medication for mental illness becomes a violent killer however, most people find relief from their symptoms and can function better in society with the short-term help of medication.

Pills move through a precision weighing machine at a pharmaceutical manufacturers trade show in New York, on March 21, 2006.  (Mark Lennihan/AP Photo)

However, powerful psychiatric drugs would appear to have a lot to answer for in mass murders, and mainstream media has been avoiding the issue, choosing instead to focus on the gun issue. Some known side effects of psychiatric drugs include violence, mania, hostility, aggression, and psychosis.

A  study from the Institute for Safe Medication Practices published in the journal PlOS One and based on data from the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System has identified 31 drugs that are disproportionately linked to reports of violent behavior toward others.

Click here for a list from Time magazine of the 10 top legal drugs most likely to cause violent behavior.

The top drug on the list is Varenicline (Chantix), its 18 times more likely to be linked to violence compared to other drugs.

Dan Roberts from AmmoLand.com. said “Nearly every mass shooting incident in the last twenty years, and multiple other instances of suicide and isolated shootings all share one thing in common, and it’s not the weapons used.”

Here is a list from Roberts of many of those cases, which include:

  • Eric Harris age 17 (first on Zoloft then Luvox) and Dylan Klebold aged 18 (Columbine school shooting in Littleton, Colorado), killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 23 others, before killing themselves. Klebold’s medical records have never been made available to the public.
  • Jeff Weise, age 16, had been prescribed 60 mg/day of Prozac (three times the average starting dose for adults!) when he shot his grandfather, his grandfather’s girlfriend and many fellow students at Red Lake, Minnesota. He then shot himself. Ten dead, 12 wounded.
  • Cory Baadsgaard, age 16, Wahluke (Washington state) High School, was on Paxil (which caused him to have hallucinations) when he took a rifle to his high school and held 23 classmates hostage. He has no memory of the event.
  • Chris Fetters, age 13, killed his favorite aunt while taking Prozac.
  • Christopher Pittman, age 12, murdered both his grandparents while taking Zoloft.
  • Mathew Miller, age 13, hung himself in his bedroom closet after taking Zoloft for six days.
  • Kip Kinkel, age 15, (on Prozac and Ritalin) shot his parents while they slept then went to school and opened fire, killing two classmates and injuring 22 shortly after beginning Prozac treatment.
  • Luke Woodham, age 16 (Prozac) killed his mother and then killed two students, wounding six others.
  • A boy in Pocatello, ID (Zoloft) in 1998 had a Zoloft-induced seizure that caused an armed standoff at his school.
  • Michael Carneal (Ritalin), age 14, opened fire on students at a high school prayer meeting in West Paducah, Kentucky. Three teenagers were killed, five others were wounded.
First responders hold a flag on the court as the national anthem is played on Oct. 26, 2016, during a tribute to the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting. The attack left 49 people dead. (John Raoux/AP Photo)

Research shows that mental illnesses are common in the United States, affecting tens of millions of people each year. Over 12 months, 27 percent of adults in the United States will experience some sort of mental health disorder, including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and substance abuse. Over one’s entire lifetime, the average American has about a 50 percent chance of having a mental health disorder. Yes, that’s almost one in two. 

Taking psychoactive substances will affect judgment, as they impair higher brain function.

If you have become reliant on these medications to help you deal with personal problems or life situations, consider trying to strengthen your self-resolve—become determined to help yourself overcome your problems, self-discipline can go a long way in helping you get out of that rut. If your problem seems insurmountable, try relaxation classes or talk to a counselor or your doctor. Get yourself back on the road to wellness by taking the first step yourself.