Doctors prescribed Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock with Valium, a sedative-hypnotic drug that studies show can provoke aggressive behavior in people with underlying behavioral issues.
Four months before the deadly massacre that claimed 59 lives and wounded more than 500, Dr. Steven Winkler prescribed Paddock with the medication, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Paddock took his own life after shooting attendees at the country music festival.
The doctor, whose staff declined to confirm whether Paddock was a patient, reportedly gave the shooter a prescription for 50 tablets of the 10 milligram dose of the drug generically called diazepam on June 21. It is not clear why Paddock was prescribed the medication.
Multiple studies have linked the class of drugs Valium falls under to aggressive behavior, causing some to wonder about the influence the medication had. Those close to Paddock, like his own brother Eric Paddock, say he had never previously displayed signs of aggression.
"Nobody should be taking Valium for months on end," wrote one person in the Daily Mail's comments section. "4 weeks maximum. Any longer and it's a recipe for disaster. And it can indeed have a huge effect on one's behavior. It can make you aggressive and it can make you exceptionally confident, bold and outgoing."
"Here we go again," added another. "Medication messing with people`s heads. Who knows how people will react? Tablets aren't the be-all and end-all of the problems people have. Just because they are quiet for a time initially, doesn't mean they are OK. Patients should be strictly monitored when prescribed "mind altering" drugs. The side effects of most antidepressants can be worse than the ailments, if you just happen to be sensitive to them."
Meanwhile, actress and Scientologist Kirstie Alley also gave credence to the Valium theory. Before news broke out of about Paddock's prescription, Alley had commented that psychiatric drugs are a "common denominator" in mass shootings. The Church of Scientology does not believe in psychiatry and considers all psychiatric drugs to be harmful.
"We have to solve the mystery of why there were no 'shooters' or almost 0 before the 1980's," tweeted Alley on Oct. 2. "I know one common denominator other than guns."
"One additional common denominator of 'shooters' is USA's mass usage of psychiatric drugs," she continued. "A % do have side effects of VIOLENCE & SUICIDE."
Not everyone is convinced the drugs led Paddock to commit the massacre.
"Got to be honest, over the years I've been prescribed Diazepam on many occasions and it NEVER ever made me the faintest bit aggressive, just made me calmer, relaxed and sleepy," wrote another person in the Daily Mail's comments section. "I'd better add I've never felt like shooting anyone either."
"He could have simply took valium to stay calm knowing he was about to commit suicide," said another. "Drinking alcohol can turn you violent too, are we going to blame alcohol? It does not mean you plan out an attack on a crowd of people. What's next? He smoked pot when he was 17?"