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Oliver North’s Ritalin Myth

The incoming NRA President, Oliver North, recently offered his theory for the spate of school shootings in this country, blaming “a culture of violence” and the drug methylphenidate (Ritalin). “If you look at what has happened to the young people, many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten,” North said. 1 As a psychiatrist, I partly agree with North: there are cultural factors in the U.S. that may increase the risk for aggression or violence — including but not limited to bullying, gangs, and substances of abuse. But Col. North is way off base in blaming Ritalin for school shootings. This notion is part of a larger mythology that attributes mass shootings to psychiatric medications of various sorts, including antidepressants. But what is the evidence for such claims?: Oliver North’s Ritalin Myth

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