Fort Hood Shooting: A Wake-up Call for Lawmakers
Violence and psychiatric drugs—a deadly formula America is becoming too intimately familiar with. The mental health watchdog group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights says that rather than continually sending heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims, it is time for lawmakers to investigate the connection between prescription psychiatric drugs and violence.
America learned within hours of the April 2nd shooting at Ft. Hood that four people were dead (including the shooter) and 16 had been wounded in the attack. The shooter, 34-year old Army Specialist, Ivan Lopez, served in Iraq for four months in 2011 and according to The New York Times, Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, said Lopez had been “examined by a psychiatrist within the last month, but showed no signs that he might commit a violent act.” Secretary McHugh further explained to the Senate Armed Services Committee that Lopez “had been prescribed Ambien, a sleep aid, and other medication to treat anxiety and depression.”
CCHR says this sounds sadly familiar to the September 2013 Washington Navy Yard attack by Aaron Alexis, who had been taking the antidepressant, Trazadone, when he killed twelve innocent people.
CCHR continues that, “psychiatric treatment, in the form of prescription mind-altering drugs, once again is connected to a mass shooting. Yet, despite data showing a connection between psychiatric mind-altering drugs and violence, lawmakers have yet to investigate the connection.”
Ambien (generic name zolpidem) is a non-benzodiazepine hypnotic and anti-anxiety drug often prescribed for insomnia, and whose known side effects include aggressive behavior, agitation, anxiety, confusion, fear, hallucinations, hostility, psychosis, rage, suicide attempts, and transient amnesia.