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A different kind of drug war: Drugging America's school children

By Tom DeWeese
web posted August 27, 2001

There's a different kind of drug war going on that doesn't get the kind of attention as the one in the streets of America. In fact, those who are involved in a massive program of drug distribution are highly regarded and very well paid. They are our nation's teachers and the legions of "counselors" who have invaded our schools. Their victims, like the street drug pusher, are the children who will be returning to school after Labor Day.

Ritalin: And your kids don't even have to see
Ritalin: And your kids don't even have to see "those people" to get their drugs

With considerable irony, many of these children will pass signs on their way to school that proudly declare that they are entering "a drug-free zone." The only problem is that twelve percent of all American boys between six and 14 have been diagnosed with "attention deficit" syndrome. They all take medications that share the same characteristics as methamphetamine and cocaine. They and others add up to an estimated seven million school children who are doped up to the eyeballs in this manner.

Other medications are prescribed for yet another syndrome called "hyper-activity." This can constitute nothing more than being fidgety or noisy.

It really doesn't matter what kind of behavior a child displays in class. If a teacher thinks they are a problem for any reason, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) published by the American Psychiatric Association, has a list of more than 300 syndromes that easily cover the situation. Twenty years ago, the DSM only listed just over a hundred syndromes. Apparently, the entire nation is filled with crazed children and adults, all requiring sedation.

The truth, as many parents discover to their horror, is that since 1965 the role of the teacher as the dispenser of discipline in the classroom has ceased. Children no longer are concerned about any rules of behavior because any real discipline is virtually non-existent in our schools. It has been replaced with parents who prefer a good lawsuit to a well-behaved child.

Then, too, teaching methods have changed dramatically downgrading the teacher to a mere "facilitator" who allows students to learn on their own or be taught by others in their classroom.

The result is schools that are more like psychiatric hospital wards than places where one can actually learn anything. Thus, the need to drug any child who can't be conventionally controlled or the child who cannot concentrate sufficiently due, as often as not, to the distractions of unruly students.

The situation has long since become so bad that in 2000 there were lawsuits filed in California and New Jersey accusing Novartis Pharmaceuticals of conspiring to create a "novel medical diagnosis" (attentional deficit hyperactivity disorder) and then cashing in on it thanks to the fear it created among parents. The drug of choice is Ritalin. When ADHPD became an official disorder in 1987, there has been an explosion of prescriptions. In 1995, physicians wrote six million Ritalin prescriptions for children and adolescents.

Last year, in testimony before congress by the US Drug Enforcement Administration it was revealed that Ritalin has the potential to cause psychological and physical dependence. To put it another way, addiction!

After a child has been on Ritalin for awhile, trying to get him or her off the medication can lead to "apathy, long periods of sleep, irritability, depression, and disorientation." Hallucinations, convulsions, and even death can result from an overdose.

Speaking for the DEA, however, Rogene Waite said that Ritalin is still considered safe when prescribed for medical reasons. The only problem is that teachers are not physicians, nor are school counselors, the people most likely to "spot the problem" and move it up the chain of command until mom and dad are told their child needs to be drugged.

The other "side affect" of Ritalin and comparable drugs such as Prozac, is the fact that virtually all of the students who showed up at school and began shooting their classmates and the occasional teacher were taking these drugs.

Eric Harris of Columbine High School fame was taking Luvoc, an antidepressant. T.J. Solomon who wounded six classmates at Heritage High School was on Ritalin. Shawn Cooper who fired off two shotgun rounds in Notus, Idaho, was also on Ritalin. Kip Kinkel was on both Ritalin and Prozac!

Even parents who want to get their child off of these so-called treatments find they are often blocked by the school bureaucracy. When Jill and Michael Carroll of Albany, NY, grew fearful of the side affects of Ritalin on their seven-year-old son, the Department of Social Services filed charges against them for educational neglect! They were told their son could be taken away from them unless they complied. This isn't an isolated case; it goes on all the time.

The parent who finds their child targeted for mandatory drugging needs to be prepared to fight back with every resource at their disposal. It used to be the worst thing that might happen to your kid at school was a scraped knee.

Today's schools are now places where your child can be found to be suffering from any one of a laundry list of so-called psychological syndromes and required to join the millions of others on a drug program that may keep things humming in the classroom, but may also produce long-term mental and psychological damage. ESR

Tom DeWeese is the Publisher/Editor of The DeWeese Report, a monthly newsletter, and president of the American Policy Center, headquartered in Warrenton, VA. The Center maintains an Internet site at www.americanpolicy.org. © Tom DeWeese.

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