Psychoactive Agents and Mental Disorders in Lone-Actor Terrorism

Michael Arieli, Aviv Weinstein, Uri Ben Yaakov, Ronnie Berkovitz, Alina Poperno, Hagit Bonny-Noach, Robert P. Granacher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter reviews the impact of psychoactive substances, examining their physiological and psychological effects on lone-actor terrorism. Initially, it introduces the emerging concept of “pharmacoterrorism,” in both lone-actor and organized terror scenarios. The almost symbiotic relationship between mental illness and psychoactive substances can constitute a significant risk factor in the lone actor’s path to terror. The chapter then surveys, via case studies, the use by lone-actor terrorists of cannabis, stimulants, anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS), and alcohol, and the neuropsychiatric adverse effects attributable to mefloquine. It will then proceed to analyze the relationship between the psychoactive substance and the mental illnesses of the lone-actor terrorists. In conclusion, the chapter discusses the challenges and future areas of research on this topic.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLone-Actor Terrorism: An Integrated Framework
Place of PublicationOxford, UK
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780190929824
StatePublished - 2022


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