According to prescription drug records the Las Vegas shooter was prescribed Valium back in June by a doctor in Nevada:
LV REVIEW JOURNAL – Stephen Paddock, who killed at least 58 people and wounded hundreds more in Las Vegas on Sunday with high-powered rifles, was prescribed an anti-anxiety drug in June that can lead to aggressive behavior, the Las Vegas Review-Journal has learned.
Records from the Nevada Prescription Monitoring Program obtained Tuesday show Paddock was prescribed 50 10-milligram diazepam tablets by Henderson physician Dr. Steven Winkler on June 21.
A woman who answered the phone at Winkler’s office would not make him available to answer questions and would neither confirm nor deny that Paddock was ever a patient.
Paddock purchased the drug — its brand name is Valium — without insurance at a Walgreens store in Reno on the same day it was prescribed. He was supposed to take one pill a day.
The Nevada state monitoring report also noted that Winkler prescribed 50 10-milligram tablets of diazepam to Paddock in 2016. He also filled that prescription the day it was written, this time at Evergreen Drugs in Henderson. It was for two tablets a day.
They say that drugs like Valium can cause people to become aggressive or suicidal:
Diazepam is a sedative-hypnotic drug in the class of drugs known as benzodizepines, which studies have shown can trigger aggressive behavior. Chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as diazepam can also trigger psychotic experiences, according to drugabuse.com.
“If somebody has an underlying aggression problem and you sedate them with that drug, they can become aggressive,” said Dr. Mel Pohl, chief medical officer of the Las Vegas Recovery Center. “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.”
Pohl, who spoke to the Review-Journal from the Netherlands, said the effects of the drug also can be magnified by alcohol.
This would explain a lot, however there is this one caveat by an expert on these type of drugs:
Dr. Michael First, a clinical psychiatry professor at Columbia University and expert on benzodiazepines, said the Finnish study speaks for itself. But he also told the Review-Journal on Tuesday that he believes the drugs would be more likely to fuel impulsive aggression than premeditated behavior.
The Finnish study he’s referring to showed that 45% of teens convicted of homicide were more likely to commit murder while on these benzodiazepines. Dr. First’s point is obviously that what Paddock did wasn’t remotely impulsive, as it appears to have been planned out for days and to the last detail.
So make of this what you will. I expect the autopsy results will tell us more once we know what was in his system at the time of death.