As news out of Maryland breaks about the latest school shooting, leave it to the alarmist, reefer mad prohibitionists to find a way to blame it on marijuana legalization.
I’ve been engaged in a Twitter dialogue these past three days with a millionaire from Pennsylvania named Julie Schauer. She is a retired art professor and the person who individually donated the second-most amount of money – about $1.4 million – in an unsuccessful attempt to defeat marijuana legalization in California and Nevada.
We began our dialogue when I responded to a tweet of hers where she condemned Democrats for taking “blood money” from the legal marijuana industry that “leads to traffic deaths.”
She responded back to me with a tweet that upped the ante by claiming that marijuana is responsible for everyone who ever dies from a drug overdose, since, in her view, marijuana use inexorably leads to hard drugs.
Now, in her latest missives, she is drawing a correlation between marijuana use and mass shooters.
When there's gun violence, we should ask why, look at all possible reasons. Of recent violent "madmen," we had Kevin Neal, shot 5, even at school, who was a pot farmer, and Jeremy Christian, who declared his love of cartoons and cannabis and dreamed of being pot farmer in Brazil.
— Julie Schauer (@InAweofArt) March 20, 2018
Intersection between pot use,shooters: Kevin Neal, DPKelley, the guy who killed 26 in Texas a few months ago, James Holmes, Jared Loughner. When pot users become violent, often it pot use is a trigger psychosis, mental illness. https://t.co/It45PY71Mn
— Julie Schauer (@InAweofArt) March 20, 2018
It’s not unreasonable to question whether a person’s drug use can contribute to a mental illness leading to violent outbursts. Scientists have asked this question many times and some have concluded that for those people susceptible to psychosis, early teenage use of high-potency marijuana may hasten the onset of their psychosis.
That’s for people who are already at risk for psychosis, though, not the population at large. Criminally prohibiting marijuana for adults because a microscopic proportion of congenitally-psychotic teenagers might have a violent reaction to it makes as much sense as imprisoning adults for possession of a Snickers bar because a few kids have peanut allergies.
Since over 80 percent of teenagers have always had easy access to pot, and that’s declined since legalization, if pot is the culprit, how is prohibiting it to adults going to help?
Speaking of history, it seems to me that pot, guns, and kids have been around since the 1960s, yet we didn’t really see the phenomenon of mass shootings happen until the end of the 1990s.
What else started happening in the late 1990s? Rampant prescription of anti-depressant SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) drugs to younger and younger patients.
The Citizen Commission on Human Rights (Florida) asks the question, “is the use of antidepressants here a coincidence or a causation?”
Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed twelve students and a teacher at Columbine High School. Eric was on Luvox, an antidepressant. The Virginia Tech shooter killed thirty-two people and he was on an antidepressant. While withdrawing from Prozac, Kip Kinkel murdered his mother and stepmother. He then shot twenty-two classmates and killed two. Jason Hoffman wounded five at his high school while he was on Effexor, also an antidepressant. … In a study of thirty-one drugs that are disproportionately linked to reports of violence toward others, five of the top ten are antidepressants. These are Prozac, Paxil, Luvox, Effexor and Pristiq.
While CCHR’s list could be dismissed as a post-hoc fallacy, if that’s the rhetorical game Schauer wants to play, then by her own rules, SSRIs are far more of a concern than marijuana when it comes to preventing the next mass shooter.
Folks like Schauer often downplay medical marijuana because it hasn’t gone through the FDA’s rigorous approval process. Then by her own rules, Schauer ought to be taking the look at the FDA-approved prescription warning labels for some of these SSRI drugs, like Effexor:
Antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) … the average risk of such events in patients receiving antidepressants was 4%…
That’s a boldfaced warning at the top of page 1 of a 47-page guide to Effexor, telling you that 1-in-25 young people taking it will become suicidal. If you take the time to read all the way down to the list of “Other Adverse Events Observed During the Premarketing Evaluation of Effexor and Effexor XR” on page 36, you’ll find that “homicidal ideation” is one of them.
Paxil will frequently lead to “emotional lability,” or exaggerated changes in mood or affect in quick succession. Infrequently, Paxil will cause “[a]bnormal thinking… hallucinations, hostility… lack of emotion… manic reaction… [and] paranoid reaction.” In rare instances, Paxil will cause “antisocial reaction… delirium, delusions… hysteria, manic-depressive reaction… psychotic depression, [and… wait for it…] psychosis.”
Luvox will frequently lead to “apathy… manic reaction… [and] psychotic reaction. Infrequently, Luvox will cause “delirium, delusion, depersonalization… emotional lability… hallucinations… hostility… paranoid reaction, phobia, [and… wait for it…] psychosis.”
Shall we go on?
- Prozac – emotional lability, depersonalization, delusions;
- Zoloft – psychosis, paroniria (excessive nightmares);
- Trazodone – hallucinations, paranoid reaction, psychosis;
- Anafranil – delusions, hallucinations, hostility, paranoia, psychosis, suicidal ideation, and impaired impulse control. Furthermore, “Anafranil may precipitate an acute psychotic episode in patients with unrecognized schizophrenia.”
Julie Schauer looking at the crisis of mass shooters and blaming marijuana is as bad as Donald Trump looking at the crisis of opioid overdoses and blaming Mexican drug dealers. In both cases, neither one can look past their scapegoats to address the for-profit pharmaceutical industry gorilla in the room.