Several months ago, Tony sent me, at my request, massive documentation from his research on this issue. Although I've saved everything, there was so much, I never sent any of it out. Tony has now consolidated much of that information into this article. Tony, thanks so much for your time and effort in bringing this to everyone.
— Jim Hardin
The Freedom Page
Subject: Ritilan - Methylphenidate HCL
[Note: The information on the prescription medication, while available on the web, was obtained by a friend who will remain unnamed, from a local hospital, also unnamed. It can be verified almost anywhere though. - Tony]
According to the local hospitals "Prescription Medication Information" guide, Ritalin, or METHYLPHENIDATE HCL:
"belongs to the group of medicines called central nervous system (CNS) stimulants. It is used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy (uncontrolled desire for sleep or sudden attacks of deep sleep)."
The guide goes on to list possible side effects, and groups these side effects by:
1. Side Effects That Should Be Reported To Your Doctor
2. Side Effects That Usually Do Not Require Medical Attention
Some of the above side effects, such as fast heartbeat, loss of appetite, stomach pain, trouble in sleeping, and weight loss are MORE LIKELY TO OCCUR IN CHILDREN WHO ARE MORE SENSITIVE TO THE EFFECTS OF METHYLPHENIDATE (Ritalin) [emphasis mine] END
The Merrow Report states in it's article "ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER- A DUBIOUS DIAGNOSIS?
"No question that A.D.D. is spreading, along with the use of powerful psychostimulants. The number of children being medicated-now an estimated 2,000,000-seems to be doubling every two years." (April 24, 2000)
The number is TWO (2) million! Two million children on this drug, and the number doubling every two years.
The report goes on to say "In preparing our documentary, we heard time and again that Ritalin is "all over the schools." Recovering drug addicts told us that Ritalin was becoming what's called a "gateway drug," the first drug a child tries. And addicts told us that some teenagers snort Ritalin for a quick, cheap (but dangerous) high."
The complete report is available at:
BEGIN INCLUDED ARTICLES:
The New York Times
EDITORIAL/LETTERS Monday, May 20, 1 996 page A14
To the Editor:
Re "Boom in Ritalin Sales Raises Ethical Issues" (Health page, May 15): The stimulant Ritalin treats the needs of health professionals, parents and teachers rather than the needs of children
You report that experts say "the drug helps anyone to concentrate, whether or not they have a neurological problem." Yet you quote them as agreeing that there is a bona fide neurological syndrome, attention deficit disorder. The experts also contend that they can determine who does and who does not have this "disease."
In fact, there is no medical, neurological or psychiatric justification for the A.D.D. diagnosis. The key "symptoms" include such behavior as "often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat," "often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected" and "often has difficulty awaiting turn."
Many factors could lead a child to behave in this manner, including a spirited, creative nature that defies conformity, inconsistent discipline or lack of unconditional love, boring and oversized classrooms, an overstressed teacher, lack of teacher attention to individual educational needs, anxiety due to abuse or neglect at home or elsewhere, conflict and communication problems in the family and misguided educational and behavioral expectations for the child.
In my own clinical experience, many such children are energetic, creative and independent youngsters struggling within the constraints of an inattentive, conflicted or stressed adult environment. Thus we end up drugging our best and our brightest.
Attention deficit disorder does not reflect children's attention deficits but our lack of attention to their needs.
PETER R. BREGGIN M.D.
Director, Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology
Bethesda, Md., May 15, 1996
Kids Using Prescription Drug for Fun
By Nicole Ziegler
The Associated Press
C H I C A G O, May 5 -Its street names include "Vitamin R" and "R-Ball," and federal drug enforcers list it among the top controlled prescription drugs reported stolen in the United States
It is Ritalin, the mild stimulant commonly prescribed for young children to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD. Authorities fear Ritalin is becoming increasingly popular as a recreational drug among teens and pre-teens.
An Area of Concern
"It's an area of concern," said Rogene Waite, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. "It has the potential for abuse, so we would be looking at that and we'll continue to monitor it."
Some psychiatrists point out that there are no definitive studies on the extent of any abuse and that Ritalin is milder than other stimulants. Even so, the DEA lists Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate or MPH, as one the agency's "drugs of concern."
"A significant amount of data from school surveys, emergency room reports, poison control centers, adolescent drug treatment and law enforcement encounters all indicate a growing problem with the abuse of MPH among school children," Gretchen Feussner, a DEA pharmacologist, wrote in a recent report.
Administrators at Lake Zurich Middle School North had heard about Ritalin abuse in the community for almost three years, Principal Philip Zarob said. But they did not know of abuse within the school until a teacher spotted two students passing something in a restroom last month. Since then, 15 students have been suspended.
A Common Case
The case is not uncommon, according to the DEA. The agency cited a 1997 Indiana University survey of 44,232 students that included a question about the non-medical use of Ritalin. Nearly 7 percent of high school students surveyed reported using Ritalin recreationally at least once in the previous year, and 2.5 percent reported using it monthly or more often.
The DEA also counted nearly 2,000 cases of methylphenidate theft from January 1990 to May 1995 - ranking the drug among the top 10 controlled pharmaceuticals most frequently reported stolen.
In addition, emergency room admissions studied by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 1995 and 1996, patients ages 10 to 14 were just as likely to mention methylphenidate as cocaine in a drug-related emergency room episode. Nearly 75 percent said they had been using the drug for psychic effects or recreation.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., the maker of Ritalin, said in a statement that millions of ADHD patients have been treated safely using the drug.
How Ritalin Is Abused
Ritalin is a stimulant routinely given to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Used recreationally, the drug can give a sense of euphoria, particularly when it enters the bloodstream rapidly.
Some users dissolve the drug in water, "cook" it and then inject it. Others grind the pills and inhale the powder. Suburban and white abusers are more likely to snort Ritalin, says Ritalin abuse report author Dr. William Bailey, of Indiana University in Bloomington.
It is most commonly used to offset the depressant effects of alcohol so users can stay out late and drink more, says Dr. Eric Heiligenstein, a psychiatrist with the University of Wisconsin Health Services in Madison.
Besides getting high, kids also use Ritalin as a study aid. "It seems to be a phenomenon that developed in the East Coast prep schools, where using Ritalin as a study aid to stay awake was part of the school culture," Heiligenstein says. "They took their Ritalin habit with them when they went to college."
Part of the allure of the drug for college and younger children is its availability. Prescriptions are written for children as young as 1 and school nurses routinely dispense the medication to grade-schoolers.
The effects of the drug last a few hours when taken orally. But even when taken according to the prescription, there is a risk of developing a dependence and a tolerance to the drug, Bailey says.
High doses lead to the same symptoms as other stimulant abuse, such as loss of appetite, tremors and muscle twitching, fevers, convulsions and headaches, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions, a sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin and an irregular heartbeat that can lead to death.
Death due to Ritalin abuse is uncommon. Still, a little is enough to kill you, says William Massello III, an assistant chief medical examiner in Roanoke, Va., who recently examined a teenager who died because the drug jolted his heart out of rhythm.
- Shawna Vogel, ABCNEWS.COM
Times Union, Albany, New York
By RICK KARLIN , Staff writer
First published: Sunday, May 7, 2000
Berne — District marks parents as alleged child abusers for wanting to take their 7-year-old son off the medication.
Like thousands of children, 7-year-old Kyle Carroll takes Ritalin for a diagnosis of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.
And like thousands of parents, Michael and Jill Carroll worry about the drug's side effects, including sleeplessness and loss of appetite. But they keep their child on the medication, in part because they fear child welfare workers will take him away if they don't.
Earlier this year, administrators from the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school district called Albany County Child Protective Services, alleging child abuse when the Carrolls said they wanted to take Kyle off the drug.
As a result, the Carrolls are now on a statewide list of alleged child abusers, and they have been thrust into an Orwellian family court battle to clear their name and to ensure their child isn't removed from their home.
"It's beyond the point of whether he should be on it. Now it's the point of them telling us what we're going to do,'' said Michael Carroll. "They're telling me how to raise my child.''
The Carroll's dilemma is not unique. While there are no reliable statistics on the phenomenon, observers say public schools are increasingly accusing parents of child abuse and neglect if they balk at giving their children edication such as Ritalin, a stimulant being prescribed to more and more students.
Acording to a recent report from the American cademy of Pediatrics, as many as 3.8 million school children, mostly boys, have ADHD. The disorder is characterized by a short attention span, jumpiness and impulsive behavior. But many cases are misdiagnosed, the study found. Additionally, at least a million children take Ritalin and the use of the drug has risen many times more during the past few years.
Along with that increase, schools are using some heavy-handed tactics on parents who may balk at the medication.
"The schools are now using child protective services to enforce their own desires and their own policies,'' said David Lansner, a New York City lawyer who has seen cases similar to the Carrolls'. "The parents' authority is being undermined when people have to do what some public official wants,'' Lansner added.
"This thing is so scary,'' remarked Patricia Weathers, of Millbrook, a suburb of Poughkeepsie. Officials at the Millbrook school district called police and child protective services when she took her 9-year-old son, Michael Mozer, off medications earlier this year. She said a drug cocktail including Ritalin, the anti-depressant Paxil and Dexedrine, a stimulant like Ritalin, caused her boy to hallucinate. "My son was a guinea pig,'' said Weathers, who now sends the child to a private school.
"This is relatively new but it's happening,'' said Peter Breggin, a Bethesda, Md., psychiatrist, of the school districts' legal tactics. Breggin is an author who opposes the use of Ritalin.
Child protective workers with the Albany County Department of Social Services didn't return phone calls seeking comment on the subject. And county spokeswoman Monica Mahaffey said social workers and others would not publicly discuss such matters.
"We're just absolutely not going to comment because of confidentiality,'' she said. Likewise with officials at the Berne-Knox-Westerlo school district. "We feel we are unable to give our side of the story due to confidentiality,'' said district superintendent Steven Schrade.
"It's a point of view that they have, and we have our point of view. We feel our side is based on facts,'' said Schrade, who added, "There's more to it than I can tell you.''
Schrade noted that schools do not prescribe medication such as Ritalin. Any drug prescription has to come from a physician, although school nurses can administer the drug and school officials can recommend it.
Kyle Carroll started taking Ritalin last year, after he fell behind in his school work. "It's hard for him to focus,'' said Jill Carroll.
Teachers drew up an Individualized Education Plan, a standard course of action for children with special needs, and they started giving him speech therapy and extra reading help. He also went to summer school.
But last fall, when Kyle started second grade, the Ritalin and extra help didn't seem to do much good. The Carrolls grew concerned when Kyle was only sleeping about five hours a night and eating just one meal a day at lunchtime. So they told school officials they wanted to take Kyle off Ritalin for two weeks to see if that helped.
That's when they got a call, then a visit, from a Child Protective Services worker.
The visit led to a family court appearance in April, which was continued to later this month. The hearing will give the Carrolls a chance to clear their name -- to some extent. If cleared, their case in the state register of alleged abusers will be sealed, but it could be opened in the future if there are other allegations of abuse.
Jill Carroll is particularly concerned because she's attending Hudson Valley Community College with hopes of becoming a child care worker. Being in the state register could keep her from working in that field.
Moreover, the Carrolls still don't know all the details of the charges against them. The "intake report'' on their case states that "Fa (father) is refusing to give the ch (child) the Ritalin.''
But several lines on the report are blacked out with a marking pen. It's roughly analogous to a criminal facing charges but not being told what they are. (Complaints to Child Protective Services are also anonymous, so suspects don't know who has leveled the charges. In this case, however, the Carrolls say they were told that a school guidance counselor made the complaint).
Michael Carroll noted this wasn't his first brush with Child Protective Services. Last year, he said, a social worker checked on an anonymous rumor that he had gotten drunk and struck family members, but the allegations turned out to be groundless. No charges were filed, and the Carrolls were not "indicated,'' or written up in the state register like they were for the Ritalin episode.
Since meeting with the services' workers this year, the Carrolls have taken their boy to another pediatrician for a second opinion. The doctor recommended staying with the Ritalin, and the Carrolls have reluctantly agreed.
"He's in school. He's on the Ritalin. He dislikes school very much,'' Michael Carroll said.
During a recent interview, Kyle had little to say. He slouched in his seat silently and, when asked if he liked school, slowly shook his head no. "This is him on Ritalin,'' Jill Carroll said.
Educators and researchers say Ritalin can indeed improve a child's concentration but it takes a concerted effort, with constant reinforcement at school and at home. "The schools have to do a lot of behavioral things with the kids,'' said William E. Pelham, a psychology professor at the State University at Buffalo who has researched ADHD and Ritalin.
In addition to medication, children with ADHD need close supervision with well-set daily goals and feedback such as a point system to reward good behavior.
For now, the Carrolls are willing to give Ritalin another try. But they still object to being targeted as potential child abusers for taking their boy off the drug.
"The parents made a decision that should have been theirs to make,'' said Elie Ward, executive director of Statewide Youth Advocacy, an Albany group that works on behalf of children.
"This is a classic, perfect example of the overreach of Child Protective Services,'' added Richard Wexler, Washington director for the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform and a former Times Union reporter. "The parents aren't being neglectful, they are being cautious."
|"Now, however, the educational system has
become the weapon of choice for modern liberals in their project of dismantling
— Judge Robert Bork in "Slouching Toward Gomorrah."