Monday, June 06, 2005

Ritalin: the Government Drug

This is a great article I came across on the internet. Thanks Ned.

by Ned Vare
Ritalin plays a significant part in the government school system's war against parents and children. When school employees and psychiatrists recommend mind-altering behavior-modifying drugs for our children, it's not to benefit the children, it's for the convenience of the schools and the teachers. The government attitude is that public school children are its property to do with as it chooses. Parents beware!

When a child's attention is not riveted on what the schools claim is "important," whether it's Dick and Jane or adding and subtracting, school people make the extremely risky and arrogant assumption that the child is sick. Without a shred of medical evidence, they imply that something is wrong with his/her brain. They never question that there may be something wrong with their own programs or methods. And yet very little of what schools force children to endure is either interesting or necessary or even true.

Instead of finding activities and learning that might be useful or relevant to children's lives, public schools require them to sit still and be quiet for tedious, unwanted and uninteresting classes. It's no surprise that some kids fidget and show other natural signs of boredom, misery and sometimes rage -- the school experience drives them nuts, and they resent being warehoused and dumbed down. The surprise, the outrage, is the schools' response to the children who don't comply: drug them with Ritalin -- chemically alter their brains in order to make them docile. And while Ritalin slows and narrows the minds of the students who take it, the possibility of being drugged threatens all the rest of the children to conform to the school's regimen.

Ritalin is a drug. It is classified (FDA) in the same group of hazardous addictive drugs as cocaine, methadone and barbiturates. Its function is to dull and limit mental activity and capacity. It does to school children what other psychiatric drugs do to mental patients, enabling them to be warehoused with the least inconvenience to the staff. And this drugging is often done without informing the children or their parents of the potential side effects, that include sudden outbursts of violence.

The reason given for the use of Ritalin is Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the name attached to symptoms such as fidgeting, inattention , etc. And yet, according to Peter Breggin, M.D., in his book, The War Against Children, "Ritalin can cause the very things it's supposed to cure, such as depression, exhaustion, withdrawal, irritability and suicidal feelings." He also lists inattention, hyperactivity and aggression as side effects. I have noticed the twitches and disfiguring facial tics of children on Ritalin, and have read reports of stunted growth. John Leland (Newsweek, Oct. 30, '95) reported: "Ritalin is addictive and can have the side effects of stroke, hyperthermia, hypertension and seizures." Why does all this sound familiar? Because we know that one, and perhaps both, of the shooters at Columbine School were on Ritalin, and reports now say Andy Williams (Santee HS in CA) was suicidal. An article in the New York Times under Child Health Alert (Jan '96) reported a link between Ritalin and cancer.

Despite what schools and some psychiatrists say, ADD is not a disease, its symptoms are not even a sign that anything is wrong, and Ritalin is not a cure for anything. While schools refer to Ritalin as a "treatment," its effect is that of a punishment. In her book, And They Call It Help, Louise Armstrong calls the use of Ritalin, "the psychiatric policing of children. Ritalin is used to manage children, to control their mental activity and thus, their behaviour. It has nothing to do with education in the usually accepted sense."

Thousands of school children are suffering from being improperly drugged and/or being placed in LD classes. The labelling of children at an early age becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy -- the children learn to see themselves as defective and/or disabled in some way, and act out the part. Children don't need to be forced to sit still in boring classes and they don't need to experience misery as a preparation for adult life. More and more child development experts agree today, simply, that they need to go outside and play. Childhood is not a disease, and youthful energy does not need a "treatment."


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