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Could these meds mean murder?

Jun 03, 2015 02:00PM ● By Cate Reynolds
Benzodiazepines—prescription sedatives including Valium, Xanax, and Ativan—are in many a medicine chest in this stressful day and age. However, some recent research suggests that these well-known tranquilizers may cause a whole new kind of mayhem.

The study by the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, analyzed the pre-crime use of prescription drugs among those convicted of homicide in Finland between 2003 and 2011. (Yes, there are murders in Finland, 144 of them in 2004 alone—higher than most of their neighbors.)

They did not find a strong correlation between antidepressants and homicide rates, as they might have expected, (Good news for us all since there were 24 million Prozac prescriptions filled in 2011.) They did find evidence, however, that people on sedatives/tranquilizers or prescription painkillers (such as OxyContin, Vicodin) could have an increased likelihood of committing homicide.

But don’t stress. This is one study…in one country (with a relatively high per capita homicide rate). Further studies are needed to see if the results would be borne out.

--Sarah Hagerty
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