Drug War

Did the Vicodin Make Him Do It?


By now you must be wondering: What drug made James Holmes shoot 70 people, 12 of them fatally, at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, on Friday? The Telegraph notes in passing that Holmes is (like three out 10 24-year-olds) "a cannabis smoker" but focuses its suspicions on the narcotic analgesic hydrocodone:

After the massacre Holmes calmly told detectives he had taken 100mg of the prescription painkiller Vicodin, and identified himself as "The Joker." The same drug was found in the system of actor Heath Ledger when he died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2008. Ledger played The Joker in the previous Batman film The Dark Knight. Vicodin side-effects can include euphoria, paranoia and, in rare cases, hallucinations.

And in even rarer cases, mass murder? Since Holmes seems to have planned his attack for months, there may be a chronological problem with attributing it to the pills he swallowed right before carrying it out. In any case, we should not be so quick to rule out bath salts, even if Holmes has never consumed them. 

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  1. I was on Vicodin after I broke two ribs. I just wanted to nap…

    1. This guy took 100mg. That’s the equivalent of 10 Vicodin extra strength tablets. I would have passed out on one and I weigh 200lbs. This man most likely was preparing to be shot and hoped the Vicodin would numb the pain ahead of time which makes him a pussy as well as a monster.

      1. I may be wrong on this…Vicodin es contains as much as 10mg of hydrocodone. Each tablet can be more than 100mg each since they contain mostly acetaminophen.

        1. I blame the shitty and misleading reporting of the Telegraph if I made an error.

          1. Vicodins are labled as X mg hydrocodone/X mg of APAP.

            1. Right but the quoted article only states 100mg of Vicodin. What did they mean by this? a 100mg pill or 100mg of hydrocodone?

          2. A regular Tylenol has 200 mg of APAP…

        2. 5mg is the standard dose of hydrocodone per Vicodin pill. So yeah that would be 10-20 pills, depending on the strength, if he was taking straight Vicodin. For a non-opioid tolerant adult that’s a lot, but the upwards recommendation for clinical use can be as high as 120mg of hydrocodone for a opiate tolerant adult, which doesn’t even cover addict levels. At those levels the Tylenol is more dangerous. There are ways to remove the acetaminophen from vicodin also. It wouldn’t be unreasonable for a heroin addict to be walking around functioning “normally” on 100mg of hydrocodone taken over the course of a day. Having had easy access to it during my college years I can attest that getting to the 5 ES + boozing level of tolerance only takes a few months of recreational use.

          That doesn’t really cover if the reporting of dosage is accurate.

      2. which makes him a pussy as well as a monster

        I’d already concluded he was a pussy. He chose to shoot up a place that was a designated “gun free zone”. He surrendered when confronted by police. The least he could have done was go down in a shoot-out with the cops, but no. When confronted by armed LEOs who could fight back he meakly surrendered. So, he’s a pussy.

        1. At least the Columbine losers had the decency to kill themselves.

        2. Lucky bastard is in solitary confinement too. Apparently the other prisoners want to get a hold of him.

          1. I guess it would be too much to ask that they go ahead and put him in the general population then turn the camreas off and have the guards turn their backs for 5 minutes.

            “Oh look, someone beat the SOB to death. Hmm, imagine that. Oh well.”

          2. Not sure I can trust a source that says his name is John Holmes.

  2. He probably drank a Red Bull as well.

  3. It was obviously Four Loko

  4. Laudanum. I hear it’s all the rage with the kids these days.

  5. Can we stop posting pictures of this asshole?

    Seriously Reason, you guys are better than this. I’m all about pointing out the hypocrisy of the media trying to pin the blame for this tragedy on an inanimate object, but the more times his face gets posted the happier he is.

    Am I alone in thinking this?

    1. No, Tman, you’re not alone.

    2. nope

    3. No. I am tired of seeing his sorry ass. It is really too bad the police didn’t shoot him. But I guess they only shoot dogs and old ladies during wrong address raids. Armed homicidal lunatics not so much.

      1. Dogs aren’t armed and neither are most old ladies. Armed homicidal lunatics – well…officer safety! or something like that.

    4. I suppose you are right, but I will save my outrage and annoyance for the assholes who use things like this to push their agenda.
      I hadn’t seen any pics of him before today, so my morbid curiosity is satisfied here. And I really don’t give a fuck if what Reason or anyone else does makes him happy, sad or whatever. It would have been best if he had just been shot, but since he is alive, I am curious to know what he was thinking.

      1. This is seriously the first time you’ve seen a picture of him? Were you on vacation or something?

        Reason alone has probably posted his picture ten times since this tragedy. Never mind how many times the rest of the media has.

        VDH recently said it best- “I wish to know nothing about him other than the information necessary to try, convict, and punish him?and any data that might provide some sort of deterrence in preventing another such rampage.”


        1. This is the first time I’ve seen a picture of him with the hair dye, which is important for the story.

          1. Yeah that is likely. Not like it wasn’t on Druge and every newscast all weekend.

            Stop it Tulpa.

            1. I don’t visit drudge and no, the news I’ve been watching has shown the old picture. Thanks for assuming you know what media I consume, btw.

              1. The number of people in the country who managed to avoid that picture this weekend has to be very small, and most of them are in prison.

                Again, stop it. Quite being a contrarian prick all of the time.

                1. Yeah, I’m the one being a prick here.

                  1. Yes you are.

                2. I’m one who avoided his picture.

                  Don’t be a douche, John.

          2. So you can’t just SAY “he had fucking hair dye to look like the joker” and go from there?

            I realize it’s not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, but I just feel like he doesn’t deserve publicity -whether good or bad- at all.

            Let the fucker rot in a hole for the rest of his life and be done with it.

            Moral of the Story: People are crazy and sometimes they do fucked up insane things and kill people. The end.

            1. I guess I don’t care what he deserves as far as publicity goes. Fuck him. I’m still curious.

              I agree with you completely on the moral of the story, though.

              1. Fair enough. I understand if people don’t agree with me. I’m just sick of seeing his stupid smirking face.

                1. I’m just sick of seeing his stupid smirking face.

                  I’m sure I will be too soon enough. Fortunately, I have no TV at the moment and a crappy internet connection at home.

                2. I’m just sick of seeing his stupid smirking face.

                  Then perhaps you ought to lay off of media of any kind instead of blaming the media doing what the media does?

          3. This is the first pic I’ve seen of him as well.

        2. I’ll admit that my curiosity has no practical purpose. But I simply can’t understand the motivation to do things like this and I like to learn more about things I don’t understand, simply out of personal curiosity.

    5. Pretty sure he has no idea how many times his picture’s been posted on any website, seeing as how he’s in prison.

      And even if he did, the picture gives context to the story so it should stay. He’ll be dead soon, whether by the hand of the state (preferably) or by another inmate if that makes you feel any better.

      1. Pretty sure he has no idea how many times his picture’s been posted on any website, seeing as how he’s in prison.

        I’m with you on this. Right now he’s in no position to enjoy publicity or much else. It’s not like having his picture splashed across the media is all part of his diabolical plan.

      2. If they can pull of the insanity bullshit in court, the state will do nothing other than feed and clothe him for the rest of his life. Better to leave him in a room with the enraged machete’-wielding loved ones of his victims.

    6. I don’t really see how reporting what he told the cops, and even listing the side effects of the substance is biased journalism. It’s a stretch.

      1. I’m all for the reporting of that, it’s just the picture is too much for me. This dudes face has been plastered (and most likely will continue to be) across almost every media source over the last few days.

        Enough already with pictures, is what I’m saying.

        1. You’re right, my complaint really belongs under the general thread as it is his stretch, and you just mentioned his pov in passing.

    7. The best the media in general could do is ignore this asshole. Giving him attention is exactly what he wants.

      Unfotunately that’s not going to happen, and also a lot of the media reportage is going to skewed, speculative, or just downright factually wrong. Most of the stuff Reason has posted so far has been in de-bunking the shit that comes out of the rest of the media’s collective pie-hole, which is a good thing.

      Although it would be nice to not have his mug.

      1. The best the media in general could do is ignore this asshole. Giving him attention is exactly what he wants.

        If it is irrational for the media to try and find a scapegoat in drugs, it’s just as irrational to say he did it only for the infamy.

      2. Saying that attention is what he wants is just more idle speculation. You don’t know that.

    8. If his appearance in the courtroom today is any indication, I don’t think he did this for reasons of fame/infamy. And I’m not quite ready to buy the whole crazy defense.

      Based on this guy’s scientific interests, I would not be surprised if this is some sort of cognitive exercise he’s going through in order to see if he can essentially transform a past event within his psyche to something other than what it really is.

      Based on his expressions in court today, he’s losing that battle. There were moments, ever so subtle, where my interpretation of his expression was that he is traumatized by the images of what he’s done. Take it for what it’s worth as someone who is no expert, but that’s my take either way.

      1. Trouble is, once you actually get into the theater and start shooting, you realize there’s no exciting theme song or expert editing pacing your moves. It’s just you, the screaming people, blood, smoke, and a bunch of people tripping over eachother running for the door.

        And then your getaway doesn’t quite go off as planned and your apartment doesn’t explode in a giant fireball the way you expected it to.

        Definitely a bummer.

    9. You are not alone. His puss creeps me out. Please post more of the pic of Smiley Guy, who always cheers me up. One of these blog posts had him recently, and I needed the cheer as I was going thru tramadol withdrawal.

      More Smiley Guy, less Joker!

  6. I took Vicodin once after breaking a bone. I fell asleep 12+ hours.

    1. It always just puts me in a good mood. Never makes me sleepy. In fact, I can’t sleep on the stuff. I just kind of float over my bed and drift in and out of consciousness. It is quite pleasant but it is not sleep.

    2. When I ran the third shift of a warehouse many years back, my crew was tight. We would often go back to my place on the weekends, drink beer and pop Vicodin while watching movies.

      One guy, had a smoking habit, he lay on the couch, but couldn’t move much because of the Vicodin, I saw what he was pointing at, so I lit a cigarette and held it for him while he puffed away.

      1. You’re a good drug buddy, Killaz.

  7. Too bad he had a tolerance, if he popped 100mg of Hydrocodone before going on a rampage he would be throwing up in the hospital. Though, opiate “hallucinations” != rampage. Generally “opiate rampages” only occur during withdrawl and having the pesky problem of not having any money to buy more…

  8. Vicodin side-effects can include euphoria, paranoia and, in rare cases, hallucinations.

    If you’re not taking it for pain, euphoria is not a side-effect. As for the latter two, WTF? First I’ve heard of that.

    1. Yeah, i’ve done a lot of opiates in my time and never hallucinated. Some of the first times I did it before I got tolerance things seemed fuzzy, but I was also firmly planted in my bed and unable to move.

    2. These are the same people who consider marijuana to be an addictive hallucinogen.

      You must remember that only people who have never used drugs are qualified to talk about their effects.

      If you have used them then you’re tainted and nothing you say matters.

      1. No, people who used drugs, but didn’t like them or couldn’t handle their shit are qualified as well. I think those people are the worst.

        1. Nothing worse than a do gooder reformed addict.

          1. Zeal of the converted. Very annoying.

        2. Yes, I forgot. Those who confirm what the “experts” say are qualified, but people who have used illegal drugs for years while also being productive members of society must be ignored.

          I’m sure that if drugs were ever made legal and users were able to “come out of the closet” so to say, there would be some very shocked anti-drug zealots out there.

          “What? He has been using drugs? For years? That’s impossible! Drugs rot the brain and he’s one of the smartest guys on the crew! What the fuck!”

          1. I hate people who use drugs to justify whatever prickish thing they have done in their lives. “It was my disease man.” No it was because you are a selfish degenerate.

            1. Or then there’s “drugs ruined my life”. No, you ruined your own life with drugs. Big difference.

      2. True, everything I say about opiates is moot because I am a drug addict who knows nothing about it. I need to let the adults talk about it. Sorry for fucking up the conversation – I apologize. It was the Vicodin that did it! *Shakes fist angrily*

        1. If you didn’t become a complete selfish prick and then blame all of your sins on “your disease”, then you really can’t be trusted. Sorry but responsible drug users don’t count man.

          1. In fact the only way to save the responsible drug users from ruining their lives with drugs is to ruin their lives with the drug war. It only matters who’s doing the ruining.

    3. My wife has had hallucinations while on vicodin for pain before. Nothing that would make her go on a homicidal rampage mind you, normally stuff like seeing bubbles forming on the ceiling. Once she claimed she saw a little unicorn sitting on my shoulder while on the stuff.

      1. That would be enough to make me never use it again. I would never be comfortable taking a substance that made me see things that weren’t there. I’ve never taken Vicodin, but I’ve taken plenty of opiates and opioids (percs are my favorite!), and none of them have ever affected me that way.

        1. Interesting. I went out of my way to take drugs that would make me see things that were not there. Not only that, but I made sure the quantity was sufficient for major hallucinations.

          1. I went out of my way to take drugs that would make me see things that were not there.

            The closest thing to a hallucinogen that I actually enjoyed was X. Hell, I didn’t even like weed. I don’t really like anything that disorders my thoughts; I just like a nice, clean buzz, and opiates/opioids deliver exactly that.

  9. I heard it was Nuckingfutsenia?.

  10. I went bowling on Vicodin after getting my wisdom teeth pulled, since everybody is sharing their boring Vicodin stories.

    1. I took one after taking a stick to the face and breaking my orbital, nose, sinus, and skull during drop in hockey. /shrug. I still have the rest of the bottle.

    2. Don’t just leave us hanging like a 10 pin, tell us how it affected your game.

  11. If he really took 100 mg of hydrocodone, he must have been doing it quite a bit before the day in question, or he would not have been doing much at all. Not that that has anything to do with anything.

  12. The comic purists will point out that The Joker has green hair, not red.

    What’s next? The Joker, and not Joe Chill, killed Thomas and Martha Wayne?!

    1. Was it ever established that the Joker never went by that name?

  13. Look at his hair. He was hooked on carrots.

    1. Carrot Top was his Jodie Foster.

      1. +400

  14. I hope and pray that nobody goes on a killing spree after enjoying a few craft beers.

    I suppose I hope and pray that nobody goes on a killing spree, period, but you get my point…

    1. Might be a good angle for Big Beer to use to push for a ban. Big Tobacco has had some success recently squeezing out the little guy.

  15. I hallucinated on Vicodin once, but it was a substantial amount and I doubt I could have been less dangerous while doing so.

    1. I never understood how anyone could be an addict until I cut my hand badly and got access to a good supply of Vicodin. It literally put me in a calm, good, productive mood every time I took one. It was quite an addictive feeling.

      1. Hydrocodone makes me pretty sick to my stomach in “fun” dosages. I have a tendency to use it in small but frequent dosages, like cold water extracting it, then sipping it out of a water bottle for a few hours.

        Xanax should be fun, but it knocks me right out in even tiny doses.

        1. It will do that to me a bit too. But it has to be a big dose. Usually I would just mix it with a couple of drinks so I don’t have to take many.

    2. This. I hallucinated my ass off on Demerol once too, but I couldn’t even get off the hospital bed, much less go on a rampage.

      It was an awesome hallucination too. I was watching an old I Love Lucy episode on the TV..the nurse poked her head in and spoke to me…and when I looked back at the TV, it was the middle of the second quarter of a Knicks-Lakers game. I had hallucinated the entire Lucy episode from some memory bank.

      1. Of all of the things to hallucinate. It had to be Lucy?

        1. Clearly a secret message from Lucifer.

        2. I Love Lucy is awesome!

          1. Lucy had red hair. Could it mean something?

      2. I had little geometric morphing figures dancing around the room and held a conversation with a dialtone for a little while.

        It was very light and whimsical, like a few shrooms in a mellow setting.

        1. It’s probably more likely that I was actually watching Lucy, dozed off from the heavy narcotics, dreamed about what I had been watching (during which time the game came on without my awareness, and the nurse just snapped me back to reality.

          But, as the hippies would say, it was a very trippy experience.

          1. Yeah, that’s more like it. I dozed off listening to the Yankees on WMCA, and suddenly the game was over and I’d missed all but the closing theme of Jean Shepherd when I switched to WOR.

      3. You people get the fun drugs. I only hallucinate when I’m running 103 degree fevers. The phrase ‘fever dream’ never made sense until then.

        1. If you eat 7grams of mushrooms, you will hallucinate.

      4. And – there was no chance you fell asleep and awoke at precisely the times those programs were on the TV?

      5. Are you sure she didn’t poke her head in to tell you she was changing the channel on the TV?

  16. Wow, the closet Statists and “guns are bad m’kay?” crowd are literally pouring out of the woodwork. I guess since neither political party can seem to gain any traction in the “Our Opponents’ Political Rhetoric is Directly Responsible for This Tragedy” sweepstakes, this must be Plan B.

    Well, never say I got out of the way when I had a chance to lead!

    I have my own proposal for an important new law. If enacted it would be known as Ronald’s Law, in memory of Ronald Poppo, the homeless man who had his face chewed off by Rudy Eugene (the Miami “bath salts” zombie).

    Anyhoo, I’m just going to drop this turd in the punchbowel now, and see if it floats:

    Effective upon President Obama’s signature, Ronald’s law will effectively ban the possession of (wait for it!)…..teeth.

    I further call on our leaders to consult immediately with the British National Health Service to determine the most efficacious means of eliminating the serious threat that teeth pose to our civilized society.

    Let’s all come together in support of this vital new tool in the War On Anything Bad Happening Again Ever? .

    Let’s do it for the children. And the widows. And puppies……….especially for the puppies…..

    You wouldn’t want a reputation as someone who hates puppies…..would you?

    1. You want to mandate the heavy use of meth?

      1. Whatever the British are using. Seems to be working for them. It’s “kinder and gentler” than pulling them with rusty pliers.

  17. It’s pretty clear he was just playing Heath Ledger’s Joker, and taking Vicodin (if that’s even true) was just part of it, along with booby-trapping his hideout and telling the cops about it. No one is asking if the dye in his hair made him do it.

    1. No one is asking if the dye in his hair made him do it.

      Stop giving them ideas.

  18. So I suppose that means that they’re going to take my House DVDs away?

  19. 100 mg? I wonder what his liver looks like?

    1. Assuming he wasn’t cold water extracting and he was taking 10/660, he took 6.6 grams of acetaminophen or 5/500 and he took 10 grams. So 6.6-10 grams.

      The sub-hepatotoxic dose is 4 grams per day. If he did this often (which his ability to even fucking walk, much less shoot a bunch of people seems to indicate), his liver is probably pretty fucked up.

      Good for him.

  20. He is a psychopath pure and simple. No more evolved than a lizard.

    1. Are those two sentences supposed to be related somehow? Are lizards psychopaths? And isn’t all life equally evolved?

  21. I know!

    Ban comic books!

    And their ubernerd cousin the “graphic novel”!


    1. Better yet, ban nerds. Lock them up. Other them.

      1. Haven’t they already been othered and locked themselves up in World of Warcraft?

        1. That and Comic Con.

      2. They have come for your uncool niece.

        1. Cosplay cuties, how can anyone disprove.


          1. She has the dead eyes and infinite capacity for emotional pain that I look for in a woman.

  22. What sort of drug side effect causes someone to carefully plot out an elaborate attack over the course of several months?

    Besides, wouldn’t someone imitating Heath Ledger’s Joker deliberately provide all sorts of bullshit reasons to fuck with people looking for explanations about what motivated him?

  23. We should not let the deaths of a dozen innocents get in the way of reminding the world that Drugs are bad, Guns are scary, that the Shooter was probably influenced by a political group I oppose, and that his Turkish lineage is sufficient to tie his acts in with the Global War on Terror…all which should lead any right-thinking person to re-elect Obama this November. And he is helping us better understand that by providing as many inspiring television appearances as possible during this time of tragedy and mourning.

    1. Also, he is building a fighting force of extraordinary magnitude. We forge our tradition in the spirit of our ancestors. He has our gratitude.



  24. Vicodin once took me for pain.

  25. Shot 70, wounded 12–with an AR-15, Remington 870, and a glock .40?

    we’re lucky that vicodin made him such a lousy shot.

    1. Sounds like he wasn’t able to practice much. Also, we don’t know how many rounds he got off from the AR before the cheap drum magazine jammed.

  26. Gaia forbid one should consider the effects of his smoking marijuana along with the Vicodin.

    One must NEVER raise the issue of the effect of the drug marijuana (or its component drugs) on people. It’s good for us, and that’s that.

    1. Clearly marijuana mixed with Vicodin makes people psychotic. Yup, this guy was perfectly normal before the evil weed.

      1. Goddamn that horrible herb!

    2. Ease up on the espresso enemas, buddy, you’re sounding paranoid.

      1. Or at least let the espresso cool off before starting.

    3. “Drug are mad, mmmkay. So don’t do drugs. ‘Cause if you do drugs, you’re bad, mmmkay. ‘Cause drug are bad. Mmmkay”

  27. What I want to know is: How can someone be autistic and still have a weed connection?

  28. Like I said in the PM links, and will say again here:

    It’s really simple, leftists:

    Blaming talk radio, “cross-hairs” and non-leftists in general, does not absolve murderers and other freaks who can stop themselves from committing heinous acts by simply not committing them in the first fucking place.

    1. You’re not getting it.

      We have no free will. Our behavior is a product of our environment and our genes. Individual agency does not exist. We’re just helpleg cogs in a vast deterministic machine. If something goes wrong in the machine, our job is to figure out what part of the machine is broken and fix it. We can’t have cogs going off and imagining themselves to be independent or something.

      1. But you don’t have any choice to fix the cogs or not. If your environment and your genes have predetermined that you will fix the cogs, you will, otherwise they’ll go unrepaired. I love how scientists think everyone else is a helpless automaton consigned to respond to stimuli, but the scientists alone have free will to change the inputs affecting the lives of others.

        1. You’re just not understanding the beautiful complexity of it all. We’re programmed to think we have free will, even though we don’t because thinking we have free will keeps us from shooting ourselves in the head.

          Liberals can’t help being preening busybodies. They were born that way. Somewhere along the line, there was a teacher, or a television reporter, or a movie director who made them like that.

          If you’re a progressive, you didn’t decide to be one, someone else did that to you.

          1. Awesomeness

      2. Great job of summing up leftist behavior analysis, Hazel.

  29. I don’t know why people aren’t bringing this up, but the guy played soccer in high school. Maybe the ball hit his head too many times. Why aren’t we talking about banning soccer, or at least enacting some common sense regulations governing it?

    1. Some youth soccer leagues already ban heading due to the frequency of concussions, so your reductio ad absurdum isn’t that absurd.

  30. looks like that henna treatment kinda got away from him.

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