Thursday, February 09, 2006

Two million bad kids, 19 dead ones

I opened this email news alert today and felt a wave of nausea. Light-headed. And then a little weepy.

Strongest warning suggested for ADHD drugs

2 million children are prescribed the drugs every month

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Ritalin and other stimulant drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder should carry the strongest warning that they may be linked to an increased risk of death and injury, federal health advisers said Thursday.

The Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted in favor of the "black box" warning after hearing about the deaths of 25 people, including 19 children, who had taken the drugs. The vote was 8-7, with one abstention.
Yeah, it’s the version of reality, but that makes this even more shocking. CNN is usually pretty pro-corporate agenda in its spin.

It wasn’t the 19 deaths that made me feel ill and sad. It’s the fact that two million kids take ADHD drugs each month in the States. Two million children are being told, day-after-day with every pill they take, that their personalities are not “right” and need to be changed. What else can a child interpret from being given a drug that has the express objective of changing his behaviour, natural personality and how he interacts with the world?

Two million kids growing up to believe that their natural childhood enthusiasm for life needs to be tempered. That their excited and hyperactive energy needs to be dampened. That their boisterous behaviour is irritating to others and that those others’ needs are more important than their own need to express themselves in the most honest way they know.

I felt ill because my own son was given a label by his after-school care-givers and placed with eleven other kids who they identified as high needs kids. Kids who either were taking behaviour-modification drugs, or, as I was told in my son’s case, should be taking the drugs. (Turns out he has a wheat allergy and every day they fed him bread, muffins and crackers…eliminate the wheat, eliminate the behaviour issues).

It is certainly very sad that 19 children have died as a result of taking ADHD drugs. But in my mind, what’s even more sad is that two million children are living -- growing up to believe that they need drugs to fit into society.

Anyone want to bet that those same kids will be the highest illegal drug users as teens and young adults, the demographic most likely to get hooked on hard drugs? These kids, who from a young age understood that taking drugs made them feel different and that when they felt different, they were actually more likable… that's the saddest part of this story.


Blogger Gina said...

I heard about the "black box" warnings too. And it's really sad. I think we look too much for a "pill" to fix all of our problems. I'm sure if there were an autism pill or a dyslexia pill people would be lining up to shove them down their kid thoughts.
Instead of doing what is really needed with those kids, working with them and understanding that they aren't broken, just different and if given time and love they will display their own unique gifts!

February 10, 2006  

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