Behavior-Altering Drugs

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More than 1 Million American children are currently on drugs–legally.  The drug is Ritalin, a prescription drug considered a “Schedule II controlled substance” in the same category as cocaine and methadone.  So why are these children on such a potent drug?  Because they supposedly suffer from Attention Dificit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD for short.

Children who have been labelled ADHD have difficulty focusing their minds and attention.  Parents, eager to deal with children who are acting out in school and creating problems at home, ask doctors to prescribe Ritalin.  Teachers, seeing dramatic calming effects and academic succes for students on medication, are often tempted to recommend the treatment to parents.  And doctors, yielding to parental pressure, seem willing to treat children suspected of suffering from ADHD, but may actually suffer from learning disabilities, anxieties, depression, or other ailments.

Where will this lead?  What message is it sending to the next generation of parents and children?  The use of Ritalin for controlling children’s behavior could have far-reaching effects, as young people learn to turn to medication in order to face life’s challenges, rather than working through their problems.

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