In some classrooms, 100% of students are on medication for some form of learning or attentional disorder.
Prescription drugs are a quick answer, right? – just pop a pill in hopes of re-balancing brain chemistry. But these drugs are classified by the US Food and Drug Administration as Class II narcotics – in the same class with cocaine and methamphetamine. Ritalin is an amphetamine. In street lingo, it’s called “speed.” Schedule II includes only those legal drugs with the very highest potential for addiction and abuse. They carry a “black box” warning, the most serious medication warning required by the FDA. The situation gives rise to the interesting irony that selling speed to children is a felony, but feeding speed to children with a prescription is called “treatment.”
These drugs have been linked to cardiovascular problems and sudden death. The more common side effects can be so devastating or unpleasant that many children just don’t want to take them. A recent study by National Institute of Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, showed that individuals who did poorly on cognitive tasks actually did substantially worse when using Ritalin or Concerta. This is a significant finding, because methylphenidate is commonly prescribed for those who do poorly on tasks.
Peter Breggin, a medical doctor and Harvard-trained psychiatrist, wrote:
The “therapeutic” effects of stimulants are a direct expression of their toxicity. Animal and human research indicates that these drugs often suppress spontaneous and social behaviors (making the psycho stimulants) seemingly useful for controlling the behavior of children, especially in highly structured environments that do not attend to their genuine needs.2
According to California neurologist Dr. Fred Baughman:
The single, biggest heath care fraud in U.S. history – the representation of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to be an actual disease, and the drugging of millions of entirely normal American children as “treatment,” is spreading like a plague – still. Once children are labeled with ADHD, they are no longer treated as normal. Once methylphenidate hydrochloride, or any psychiatric drug, courses through their brain and body, they are, for the first time, physically, neurologically, and biologically abnormal.3
Do children with ADHD and/or LD actually have a disease treatable with drugs? What kind of intervention can help kids without severely affecting their body chemistry or personality?
ADHD, for example, is more than just hyperactivity. Root causes may include brain processing abnormalities, problems with the entire listening/hearing system, food or environmental allergies, metabolic insufficiencies, and heavy metal toxicity.
Stephanie Reese, PhD