LAS VEGAS — Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was prescribed an anti-anxiety drug that can cause aggression in June, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The 64-year-old, who killed 58 people and injured hundreds more at a country music festival Sunday night, was prescribed 50 diazepams, or Valium, tablets in late June.
Diazepam, a benzodiazepine, is normally used to sedate people, but chronic use can result in aggressive behavior.
“If somebody has an underlying aggression problem and you sedate them with that drug, they can become aggressive,” Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center told the newspaper. “It can disinhibit an underlying emotional state … It is much like what happens when you give alcohol to some people … they become aggressive instead of going to sleep.”
According to a 2015 study of 960 Finnish adults and teens found guilty of murder, the odds of killing were 45 percent higher when they were on benzodiazepines.
However, Columbia University researcher Dr. Michael First says that it’s more likely to be associated with impulsive acts of violence than what went into the Las Vegas massacre.
So far, police believe Paddock, who fired shots at concertgoers from the 32nd floor of his hotel suite, acted alone. A motive is unknown.