Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD)
Professor Nicholas Pappas
April 29, 2004
Parents throughout the country are being pressured and compelled by schools to give psychiatric drugs to their children. Teachers, school psychologists, and administrators commonly make dire threats about their inability to teach children without medicating them. They sometimes suggest that only medication can stave off a bleak future of delinquency and occupational failure. They even call child protective services to investigate parents for child neglect and they sometimes testify against parents in court. Often the schools recommend particular physicians who favor the use of stimulant drugs to control behavior. These stimulant drugs include methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, and Metadate) or forms of amphetamine (Dexedrine and Adderall).
My purpose today is to provide to this class the scientific basis for rejecting the use of stimulants for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or for the control of behavior in the classroom or home.
I. Escalating Rates of Stimulant Prescription
Stimulant drugs, including methylphenidate and amphetamine, were first approved for
the control of behavior in children during the mid-1950s. Since then, there have been
periodic attempts to promote their usage, and periodic public reactions against the
practice. In fact, the first Congressional hearings critical of stimulant medication were
held in the early 1970s when an estimated 100,000-200,000 children were receiving these
Since the early 1990s, North America has turned to psychoactive drugs in
unprecedented numbers for the control of children. In November 1999, the U.S. Drug
Enforcement Administration (DEA) warned about a record six-fold increase in Ritalin
production between 1990 and 1995. In 1995, the International Narcotics Control Board
(INCB), an agency of the World Health Organization, deplored that "10 to 12 percent of
all boys between the ages 6...