Uncle Sam Now America's No. 1 Drug Pusher

by Jarret Wollstein
Wednesday, April 25, 2001

Every day some 6 million children ­ some as young as 2 or 3 ­ are now given Ritalin and other stimulants at the urging of school officials and psychiatrists. The reason: They are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a recently discovered mental "disease" whose symptoms include short attention span, impulsive behavior, and difficulty sitting still. Many more boys than girls are diagnosed with ADHD. In some schools ­ including two school districts near Virginia Beach, Virginia ­ as many as 20 percent of the boys are now given Ritalin daily.

The strongest advocates of drugging children are the Department of Education, educational bureaucrats and psychiatrists. The U.S. consumes over 90 percent of Ritalin produced in the world. What bureaucrats don't tell parents, however, is that Ritalin has effects similar to amphetamines and is listed by the Drug Enforcement Agency as a Schedule II controlled substance.

Despite these problems, bureaucrats often insist that "ADHD children" be given Ritalin and other drugs. Parents who resist are increasingly being threatened with charges of child abuse and threats of having their children taken away from them. For instance:

* In Albany, New York, Michael and Jill Carroll were charged with child abuse when they told school officials they wanted to take their 7-year-old son, Kyle, off Ritalin. They are now on a statewide list of child abusers.
* In California, Dr. Robert Sinaiko had his medical license revoked and was fined $99,000 by an administrative law judge for taking a boy off Ritalin and prescribing alternative treatment.
* In Millbrook, New York, officials in the Millbrook school district called police and child protective services when Patricia Weathers took her 9-year-old son, Michael, off Ritalin and other government-prescribed drugs.

Dr. Peter Breggin, founder of the Center for the Study of Psychiatry, raises many chilling questions about the consequences of drugging millions of children, in his recent book, "Talking Back to Ritalin." Breggin states:

* The number of children being drugged has increased sevenfold in the last few years.
* Ritalin and amphetamines (like crystal meth and other illegal street drugs) have almost identical adverse effects on the mind and behavior, including drug-induced behavioral disorders, psychosis, mania, drug abuse and addiction.
* A large percentage of children who take Ritalin and other stimulants become robotic, lethargic, depressed or withdrawn.
* Ritalin can retard growth in children by disrupting the cycles of growth hormone released by the pituitary gland.
* Ritalin is addictive and can become a gateway drug to other addictions.
* There is no solid evidence that ADHD is a genuine disorder or disease of any kind.

Dr. Breggin also explains that Ritalin is so harmful that the U.S. military rejects applications from young men who have been taking it.

Dr. Breggin is part of a rising chorus of medical authorities and psychologists who oppose the wholesale drugging of children. Dr. Kevin McCready of the San Joaquin Psychotherapy Center is particularly outspoken in his opposition to the growing use of drugs on children:

"The massive drugging of children in America is an absolute scandal. ADHD is a myth, and an excuse to drug children to make them more easily manageable ­ with no thought about the long-term mental and health consequences for the children.

"Millions of children are being conditioned to take drugs thanks to their daily dose of Ritalin, Prozac and other drugs. Uncle Sam is now the world's #1 drug pusher."

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