Experts weigh in on connection between drugs and violence in youth

After the Parkland shooting, one watchdog group is raising concerns about guns and drugs, and the relationship between the two.

“Be safe. Don’t take psychiatric medications,” says Pamela Seefeld.

Seefeld is a registered pharmacist and says those medications are driving teens to violence in local schools.

“It’s just going to continue to happen until there is responsibility taken. These medicines are really messing with people’s heads,” Seefeld says.

Citizens Commission on Human Rights considers itself a mental health watchdog, and claims at least 36 school shootings or school-related acts of violence have been comitted by those taking or withdrawing from psychiatric drugs.

“With any medication there are side effects. However, this is a giant leap to say the medication itself would cause a shooter,” says Dr. Bart Rossi, a political psychologist.

He says medication can’t be the only issue you focus on in these acts of violence.

“It could be a factor in some way with some people,” he adds.

Parents like Sherry Seals say we’re all to blame for the violence.

“Personally, I think it’s societal failure,” she says. “As a whole, we need to make some changes and nurture our children a little bit better.”

But CCHR says that training teachers and others in detecting and predicting violent behavior won’t fix the problem, because there’s no definitive science on how to do that.

“We don’t know who the shooters are going to be, and that’s the problem,” Rossi says.

Before putting your child on a drug meant to help the mind, Seefeld says to test their genetics to make sure the drugs are compatible with their body.

“Until they start testing these kids and making sure the medications are tailored to what they actually need, it’s going to continue,” Seefeld says.

CCHR also claims withdrawal from psychotropic drugs has been linked to violent behavior. Dr. Rossi says even in those cases, many outside factors like social life and abuse can drive a person to act violently.

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