Socialist Worker

The case of drugging kids

by Steven Rose
Issue No. 2210

A strange case is the disorder called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

It is a disorder that didn’t exist in Britain 30 years ago.

Now 5 to 8 percent of schoolchildren are affected by it—mainly boys aged between eight and 12.

We are told that they are not very happy at home, that they are disruptive in class.

No brain damage can be seen, but drugs are being prescribed.

ADHD is a strange disease as it does seem to remit at weekends and during the school holidays.

Ritalin is the drug of choice for its treatment. In the 1980s and 1990s I was told that ADHD was rare—maybe one in 500 or one in 1,000 children affected.

By 1991, 2,000 prescriptions a year were being issued. By 2007 that increased to 600,000 a year.

Children are being dosed with a drug, which according to the government’s own committee on the misuse of drugs, is about on a par with Ecstasy in terms of its hazards and unpredictability—it is an amphetamine.

The drug policy in this country is completely crazy—some kids are forced to take drugs, other kids are put in prison or hospital for taking drugs.

Some drugs are legal, some are illegal, some are over the counter and none do as much damage as alcohol or cigarettes.

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Tue 13 Jul 2010, 17:56 BST
Issue No. 2210
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