Painkillers and homicide have been connected in a study, but not in a positive way. Swedish and Finnish researchers have found that there is an increased likelihood of homicide in those who are prescribed painkillers. While the research doesn’t necessarily mean a person taking painkillers is guaranteed to become a murderer, but the point was actually to quell some rumors that had managed to spread like wildfire over the course of the last several years.
It’s been a well-documented misconception that those who are prescribed or taking anti-depressants are more likely to commit a violent act like homicide. However, the research found that anti-depressants were only attributed to the slightest increase in risk of homicide. Dr. Jari Tiihonen, who was the lead author on the study pointed out that, “I think that these chemical substances affect the impulse control of the person.” He went on to point out that, “The only surprising result was that painkillers also increase the risk.”
He then went on to point out that, “On the basis of our results, benzodiazepines and painkillers, but not antidepressants are linked to an significantly higher risk.” The study also found that in many of the cases where homicide had occurred, there was an extensive history of painkillers being prescribed. Tiihonen said, “It has been repeatedly claimed that it was the antidepressants used by the persons who committed these massacres that triggered their violent behavior.”
This isn’t the first study though that has pointed out a connection between various drugs and increased risk of homicide. Interestingly though, the previous study, which was conducted in 2008 was far more vague and only revealed that there was a connection between drug abuse, alcohol abuse, and increased risk of homicide. Many members of this research team hope that the results will spawn more research.
This study found that those taking opiate painkillers were 92% more likely to commit an act of homicide, while those taking anti-inflammatory painkillers were 206% more likely to commit an act of homicide. The findings are interesting because it gives credence to the notion that anti-depressants simply are not connected in the way that they are socially said to be. This is something that will require further research, of course, but at the end of the day, this contributes greatly to the overall discussion about medications and how they impact the mental well-being of people. That is to say that these medicines can impact an individuals ability to make logical decisions.