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Minor Tranquilizers

USA Today Magazine,
May 1, 1994, p 44

"Minor tranquilizers, or anti-anxiety agents – the most widely used class of psychiatric drugs – also have been shown to create violence. Included in this category are Xanax, Halcion, Valium, Ativan, Restoril, Tranxene, Librium and Dalmane.

The Canadian team that researched the connection between aggression and psychiatric drugs in a prison population stated that, of all classes, 'anti-anxiety agents appeared to be most implicated, with 3.6 times as many acts of aggression occurring when inmates were on these drugs.' They maintained: 'Considering that certainly not all aggressive personalities are in prison, that frustrations also abound in society and that diazepam [Valium] is the most prescribed drug in the U.S. with chlordiazepoxide [Librium] third, the implications of the combination of anti-anxiety agents and aggressiveness are astounding.'

"In 1970, a textbook on the side effects of psychiatric drugs already had pointed out their potential for violence. 'Indeed, even acts of violence such as murder and suicide have been attributed to the rage reactions induced by chlordiazepoxide and diazepam.' On March 30, 1981, 11 years after this was published and six years after the Canadian study, John Hinckley, Jr., attempted to assassinate Pres. Ronald Reagan in the midst of a Valium-induced rage.

"Since the Canadian study was published, Valium has been replaced by Xanax, another minor tranquilizer, as the most widely prescribed psychiatric drug. Yet, Xanax is as deadly, if not more so, than Valium.

"According to a 1984 study, 'Extreme anger and hostile behavior emerged from eight of the first 80 patients we treated with alprazolam [Xanax]. The responses consisted of physical assaults by two patients, behavior potentially dangerous to others by two more, and verbal outbursts by the remaining four." A woman who had no history of violence before taking Xanax 'erupted with screams on the fourth day of alprazolam treatment, and held a steak knive to her mother's throat for a few minutes.'

"James Wilson had been taking Xanax before he entered the Oakland Elementary School in Greenwood, S.C., on September 26, 1988. He shot and killed two eight-year-old girls and wounded seven other children and two teachers."

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