Ritalin Nation: Are We Killing Our Children? Methylphenidate, a schedule 2 substance, has a high potential for abuse and produces the same effects as cocaine or the amphetamines. Binge use, psychotic episodes, cardiovascular complications and severe psychological addiction have all been associated with methylphenidate. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Background Memo (2004) This year, approximately six million childrenroughly one out of every eightwill take Ritalin for what is termed attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD), a condition that was once labeled hyperactivity. However, the drugs that are prescribed for ADHD are cocaine-like stimulants. And according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the human nervous system cannot differentiate between cocaine, amphetamines and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Since ADHD hit the mainstream in the 1980s, prescriptions for Ritalin have skyrocketed. And over the past three years, there has been a 23 percent increase for all children, including those under 5 years of age. However, as the DEA reports, not only is Ritalin a dangerous narcotic, it also has numerous, troublesome side effects: difficulty sleeping, loss of appetite, irritability, nervousness, stomach aches, headaches, blurry vision, nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, ticks, hypersensitivity, anorexia, blood pressure and pulse changes, cardiac arrhythmia, anemia, scalp hair loss and toxic psychosis. Other rare side effects include abnormal liver function, cerebral arteritis, leucopenia and sometimes death. Recent evidence also ties Ritalin and other methylphenidate derivatives to abnormally violent behavior in the young people who take such drugs. For example, in 1998, 15-year-old Kip Kinkle of Oregon, after taking methylphenidate and Prozac, killed four people, including his own parents, and wounded 22 more. Eric Harris, one of the Columbine High School killers, masterminded the killing of 12 students and a teacher while on similar drugs. He and his partner then shot themselves. These and other violent killings by young students have now been linked to the burgeoning legalized prescription drug market that has invaded Americas public schools. Rod Matthews, a 14-year-old Massachusetts youth who had no history of violence but was placed on methylphenidate, soon developed extreme psychological problems. In October of 1986, Rod wrote: My problem is I like to do crazy things. Ive been lighting fires all over the place. Lately, Ive been wanting to kill people I hate, and Ive been wanting to light houses on fire. What should I do? Shortly thereafter, Rod lured a fellow student into a forested area and beat the young man to death with a baseball bat. Tried as an adult and convicted of second-degree murder, Rod became the youngest inmate in the Massachusetts prison system. After he was arrested and taken off methylphenidate, however, his violent thoughts stopped. If Ritalin is so bad, why is it being used on schoolchildren? The sad fact is that our public schools and parents have been duped by the psychiatric and drug industries. A quintessential truth was unearthed about the educational experience children encounter today, write Thomas G. Whittle and Linda Amato in Freedom magazine (Spring 2004). Psychotropic drug makers, parasitic on the school system, have created a lucrative market for their own enrichment by pathologizing childhood behavior as mental disorders, with pseudo medical labels obediently supplied by the very psychiatrists who prosper from this corrupt arrangement. It has been proven that Ritalin can cause especially severe reactions in children under six years of age and should not be used for this age group. Despite this fact, the number of stimulants for children aged two to four has increased 200 to 300 percent between 1991 and 1995. Another alarming fact has recently surfaced. Adolescents are increasingly giving and selling their Ritalin medication to schoolmates and friends who are taking it orally, crushing the tablets and snorting Ritalin powder like cocaine. It is no wonder, then, that Ritalin is often referred to as Kiddie Cocaine. Ritalin is also closely related to the illegal street drugs methamphetaminestreet name crystal meth. Ironically, our society imprisons people for manufacturing drugs similar to the drugs physicians commonly prescribe to millions of our school children. But does Ritalin really help settle down hyperactive children? A comprehensive follow-up study at Montreal Childrens Hospital reveals that the behavior of hyperactive children did not differ significantly from the behavior of non-hyperactive children after taking Ritalin for five years. Although it appeared that hyperactive kids treated with Ritalin were initially more manageable, the degree of improvement and emotional adjustment was essentially identical at the end of five years to that seen in a group of kids who had received no medication at all, the report stated. And does taking Ritalin help our children academically? According to Dr. Mary Ann Block: It may surprise many to know that studies have found that children who take amphetamine-type or other mind-altering drugs do not perform better academically. No studies indicate enhanced academic performance from these drugs. In fact, academically, the schools are worsening. Despite ever-increasing sums spent on education and drugs for children, the U.S. literary rate plummeted from fifth in the world among nations in the 1960s to 49th by 1999, its lowest rating ever. What can we do? First, our government should immediately step in and place a moratorium on Ritalin and similar drugs. No child should be subjected to such medical and psychological abuse. This means our President and Congress should make Ritalin and related drugs the top priority in the so-called war on drugs. This will mean investigating those who advocate and profit from such drug-related activities. And, if need be, instead of the current policy of protecting the drug industry, some of these companies should be put out of business. Second, with very few exceptions, no one should force their child to take psychotropic drugs. In fact, it has been established that environmental toxins, mercury poisoning and allergies often affect behavior and academic performance and create the symptoms that are now called ADHD. Consult a physician before even considering such dangerous drugs. Third, do not allow your child to be threatened with a psychiatric label such as ADHD. He or she may merely be a normal hyperactive child or may be suffering from a learning problem or other non-drug-related problem. Finally, we as a nation must move away from the concept of drugs of any kind as an answer. By doing so, we have opened the door to manipulation by unscrupulous drug marketers who would dope us up or drug us for a profit. If we as a society really mean that we are anti-drug, then let it start at home and at school. ===== In this instance, I agree with the author about the parasitic attitude of the drug company.