Norwegian Mass Murderer "Used Drugs" Before Killings, Says Lawyer

By Will Godfrey 07/26/11

Drug use is linked to Anders Behring Breivik's attacks, while his psychiatric state is due to be evaluated and prosecutors consider their next move.

Breivik in custody Photo via

The lawyer defending Anders Behring Breivik, the right-wing extremist who carried out a bombing and mass shooting in Norway on Friday—with 76 deaths currently confirmed—stated today that his client used "some kind of drugs" before the killings. The vague wording leaves it unclear whether this was a regular occurrence, or whether Breivik, 32, was using the unspecified substance(s) in an attempt to facilitate his planned attacks. He admits the killings but denies the terrorism charge he faces. His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, also indicated that he might pursue a verdict of insanity, saying: "This whole case indicated that he is insane." A medical evaluation is due to establish Breivik's psychiatric condition soon. Christopher M. Byron, author of Mind Drugs, Inc.: How Big Pharma and Modern Psychiatry Have Corrupted Washington and Destroyed Mental Health in America, told The Fix in reaction to the drug link: "I'm not surpised. Drugs are mixed up one way or another in nearly every mass homicide of the last twenty years." He particularly pointed the finger at psychiatric drugs, such as Prozac, Luvox and Zoloft, which he said "routinely turn up as a precipitating factor in workplace violence" and have been linked with numerous killing sprees. In Norway the maximum penalty for any crime is normally 21 years in prison, but those incarcerated can be held for longer if they are judged "criminally insane" and a threat to the public. Prosecutors are considering charging Breivik with crimes against humanity, which carry a potential 30-year sentence.

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Will Godfrey is the former editor-in-chief of TheFix. He was also the founding editor-in-chief of, and previously co-founded a magazine for prisoners in London. His work has appeared in Salon, Pacific Standard, AlterNet and The Nation among others. He is currently the Executive Director at FILTER. You can find Will on Linkedin and Twitter.