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.