The Dark Side Of A Wonder Drug-A

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The Dark Side Of A Wonder Drug-A Selected Collection Of Testimony On The SafetyOf Ritalin Essay, Research Paper The Dark side of a Wonder Drug-A Selected Collection of Testimony on the Safety of Ritalin “We give our children every day, yet we punish adults for taking speed,” stated a concerned parent(Ritalin Zone). A trip to the principal’s office used to mean big trouble. These days, more kids are showing up in the school office just to get their midday dose of Ritalin. Ritalin, the drug used to treat hyperactivity in children, is being seized on by a generation worried about controlling inappropriate behavior. But some doctors think Ritalin is being prescribed to children who are simply having trouble in school. The numbers suggest they have good reason to worry. The

number of prescriptions for Ritalin increased four-fold from 1990 to 1995, making the stimulant one of the most prescribed drugs in the country. No one knows exactly what’s behind the surge in Ritalin use, but experts speculate it’s due to everything from increased awareness of attention disorders in schools to teachers and parents becoming less tolerant of unruly behavior. Some local school offices have become virtual noon-time pharmacies. At one Ottawa-area board of education, the number of medications dispensed to students by office administrators has increased 20 per cent over the past 18 months. A good chunk of those pills are Ritalin. “We always worry that we’re a half-step away from giving someone the wrong dosage,” says John Beatty, the board’s superintendent

of school operations(Ritalin Boy). “In certain school systems there’s been a teacher who has seen it work and they’ll start suggesting it as an option for all children who are acting out,” said Linda Budd, a St. Paul, Minn., psychologist who has written the book Living With the Active/Alert Child. “We’ve got some teachers we call “Ritalin bullies’ – he’s not paying attention to me so he needs Ritalin”(Ritalin Zone). Marcia Ruberg, a school psychologist in Cherry Hill (N.J.) School District, said the number of children taking Ritalin varies greatly from class to class, depending on “the teacher’s belief system”(Ritalin). At some schools, children as young as seven are asked to take their Ritalin themselves. The little blue pills have become so common in

school yards that some kids are reportedly selling their spare Ritalin to friends, who take it in the hope of getting a buzz. “Every parent wants their child to be at the top of the class,” says Dr. Andre Cote, clinical director of the Children’s Mental Health Treatment Center at the Royal Ottawa Hospital. “What we might be seeing is that people are trying to improve their kids’ performance by giving them medication”(Health: Ritalin). Others worry that Ritalin has become an easy answer for busy families trying to cope with a hyperactive or aggressive child on their own. Dr. Thomas Millar, a retired Vancouver child psychiatrist, believes ADHD is not a disorder, but behavior that discipline and better parenting can fix. “Ritalin may calm the child,” says Millar,

“but it does nothing to increase his or her tolerance for life’s demands, and when the Ritalin runs out, the symptoms return”(ADHD: Ritalin). Even proponents of Ritalin fear that normal, rambunctious children may be being labeled with a disease for which there is still no clear test. “Basically, you are taking children who are in conflict with adults and drugging them,” said Dr. Peter R. Breggin, a Bethesda, Md., psychiatrist and leading opponent of the drug. “You have a child who is depressed, who can’t concentrate, who is having trouble in school and you’re drugging him instead of saying what can we do to attend to the child’s needs”(Discover Ritalin). Lawrence H Diller MD, agrees with Dr. Breggin by saying, “It is easier to medicate a child than work with