Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Kids Overmedicated in School

The New York Times recently printed an unusual article that I found emotionally devastating. It was written by a father who described what happened to his son David. When he was in the first grade, the school turned him over to psychiatrists who prescribed medication for him even before they met him. One psychiatrist said he would not see him until he was medicated. For a year, the father refused to fill the prescription at the pharmacy, but finally under pressure he relented. The kid was put on Ritalin, then adderall, and other drugs that the psychiatrist said would be helpful in combating the condition. And what was the condition? Mainly, it was being a boy. In another age, this father said, the kid might have just been called "rambunctious." He would leap over the couch, spring to reach the ceiling and show an exuberance for life that came in harmless outbursts of energy. Nobody asked my opinion, and I'm certainly not a psychiatrist, but I have raised boys. and it sounds to me like his problem was being a very active boy and he couldn't sit still for long periods of time in the classroom like girls can do, so the teachers reported him as a problem.

Well, so the kid became addicted to prescription drugs and joined the submarket in prescription drugs used by his classmates. Last year, as a 21-year-old college senior, he was found on the floor of his room, dead from a fatal mix of alcohol and drugs.

Maybe you can imagine how the father feels. He doesn't excuse his son, but he deplores the fact that a generation of students has been raised in an environment that encourages unnecessary medication and performance enhancers. He blames himself for colluding with a culture that overmedicates by giving his son Adderal.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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