Chemically Induced Compliance: The Drugging of Kids and Garbage Science in America

Read about the familes who say "no"

The risks of prescribing stimulants for children

"(The drug) produced a marked increase in compliance and sustained attention to the activities assigned during the structured task session."

APPROXIMATELY TWO MILLION of America's children are being dosed daily with amphetamines and amphetamine-like drugs like Ritalin and Adderall at the insistence of teachers and school administrators. Why?

What follows are quotes from various books and studies as well as short essays on the pseudo-science behind this new form of "medicine."

This is science?

"When I first began evaluating...for ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), I wanted to find out how other doctors dealt with this new group of patients, so I consulted with a fellow ADD specialist nearby. It was no big deal to him: "Just count the symptoms," he told me, "and if they meet the criteria, you can treat them" (with medication, it was implied. The subtleties and contradictions of behavior and emotions, the interactions of relationship and environment - none of this seemed important to him. It made me wonder why a doctor was needed, if this was all an evaluation required."

Lawrence H. Diller, M.D. from "Running on Ritalin"

Ritalin (and Adderall) logic: An imaginary conversation

1. What do psychoactive drugs do?
A: They change brain chemistry.

2. Why do you want to change the brain chemistry of small children?
A: Their brain chemistry is flawed.

3. What biologically based test do you use to determine that this is so?
A: We do not use such tests.

4. Why not?
A: There are no valid tests available.

5. How then do you diagnose and prescribe?
A: We use behavioral tests.

6. Are you saying that merely by observing a child's behavior you can tell exactly what problems he has with his or her brain chemistry and then prescribe the correct substance in the precise dose needed to correct it?
A: That's the theory.

7. Why do you suggest to some parents that they give their children a vacation from these drugs on the weekends and on holidays, including summer vacation?
A: These children have their biggest problems in the school environment.

8. Are you suggesting that the brain chemistry of these children is different on the weekend than it is Monday through Friday?
A: The problems are often more acute in the school environment.

9. Why do you think it is that countries with better health care systems and longer life spans than ours (Japan, Sweden, and Switzerland, for example) prescribe almost no Ritalin or Adderall for their children and that the US and Canada consume over 85% of the world's supply of these drugs?
A: They are not as advanced as we are in the diagnosis and treatment of ADD and ADHD as we are.

10. Since you have no biologically based test for the drugs you are prescribing and there is no scientifically valid evidence that proves these drugs are effective or even safe, how can you claim that your science on this subject is superior?
A: I'm an expert. How dare you question me? You are obviously anti-child and anti-progress. This interview is over.

The risks of prescribing stimulants for children

Adderall: The new wonder drug for Attention Deficit Disorder


Amphetamine Asparate - 25%
Amphetamine Sulfate - 25%
Dextroamphetamine Saccharate - 25%
Dextroamphetamine Sulfate - 25%

Before being prescribed for children, Adderall was prescribed as an appetite suppressant for the dangerously obese.

What the drug companies (and their client doctors) say about this wonder drug and why it is an improvement over Ritalin:

"Multiple Dose Availability Adderall tablets include 5, 10, 20, and 30 mg doses, more than any other psychostimulant. It is now possible, using Adderall 5, 10, 20, and 30 mg tablets to prescribe doses in increments as low as 1.25 mg rather accurately. This has made Adderall BY FAR the most micro-manageable stimulant medication ever developed...

Micro-Dose Incremental Flexibility All Adderall tablets are DOUBLE-SCORED, thus can be accurately split into quarters or halves for careful dose management...

Using this strategy, it is possible to make incremental adjustments in dose with accuracy in patients of all ages, and to do so far better than is possible with any other stimulant preparation. THIS IS A HUGE and IMPORTANT ADVANTAGE IN EFFECTIVE PATIENT CARE."

In other words: It comes is a wider variety of sizes.

Ritalin: What the studies really show

  • The unwanted side effects are (commonly) problems with eating and sleeping, possible negative effects on cognition (diminished creativity) and self-image, and rare or disputable increases in motor or verbal tics.

  • There is no long term evidence of improvement of children taking Ritalin. No improvement in academic outcome can be attributed solely to its effects, no decrease in anti-social behavior or arrest rates, and only small effects on learning and achievement.

  • There exist no neurological, physiological, or biochemical means to predict or determine response to Ritalin.

  • Ritalin does not improve complex skills such as reading, athletic ability, and social behavior. Grades may improve, but Ritalin cannot correct a learning disability...Ritalin does not improve significant emotional problems.

    Source: James M. Swanson, Keith McBurnett, et. al. "Effect of Stimulant Medication on Children with Attention Deficit Disorder: A 'Review of Reviews'" Exceptional Children, vol. 60 (1993), pp. 154-61

    A sample diagnostic test

    "...One test indicated (Tim) was 'off task 100%.' That sounded ominous. What was this test about?

    The test for inattention involved placing Tim in a room where he thought he had privacy and then observing him through a one-way mirror while he did math problems...every 30 seconds the observer behind the glass marked down if Tim was 'off task' at all during the half minute.

    How was 'off task' defined? On cross-examination, the psychologist explained that "If the child breaks eye contact with the math problems, then he or she is coded as off task." Tim, unaware that he was being watched, broke eye contact with his work in that lonely little room at least once during every 30 second interval of time. Thus the ominous conclusion that he was "off task 100%."

    ...Now for the crucial question. How did (ten year old) Tim score of the math test? He got 100%...and this (became) a major piece of evidence for diagnosing him with ADHD and for drugging him against his father's wishes."

    Source: "Talking Back to Ritalin" by Peter R. Breggin MD

    Pushing dope

    "EVALUATION/TREATMENT FUN PACKAGE" to Las Vegas, complete with "2 nights FREE room accomodations in one of Las Vegas' premier Strip casinos, Monday through Thursday only; Coupons worth $900 for discounts for meals, shows and many Las Vegas attractions!"
    Corydon G. Clark MD - 1997

    For doctors only: "Building a Thriving ADD Practice (Step by Step)
    Dr. Daniel Amen - 1997

    A true believer: "No respected doctor feels that stimulants are dangerous when used as perscribed, nobody is vehemently opposed to them, and there is simply no controversy in any circle which is educated about ADHD." Mike - A 22 year old Ritalin advocate

    A dangerous drug marketed by liars

  • In 1968, Sweden banned the use of Ritalin because of potential for abuse of the drug.
  • In 1971, the World Health Organization concluded that Ritalin, amphetamine (chief ingredient in Adderall), and methamphetamine were pharmacologically similar among themselves and to cocaine in their abuse patterns.
  • Novartis (Ciba), the manufacturer of Ritalin, through a front group it subsidizes, CH.A.D.D. (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder), lobbied the DEA to reclassify the drug from a Schedule II to a Schedule III. CH.A.D.D. claimed that Ritalin was "a beneficial and relatively benign medication." The DEA refused.
  • The International Narcotics Review Board: "Methylphenidate (Ritalin), due to its high abuse potential, was one of the first substances to be placed under international control in Shedule II (along with morphine, opium, heroin, cocaine, and barbituates)"

    What some kids say

    "They are dreamers. That doesn't mean they are wrong. They just don't fit the norm, so they are labeled and damned, labeled as ADD. So the doctors dope us up with Ritalin and control our minds with low doses of speed. The teachers pay us no mind unless are minds are under control. It screws up our chain of thought and makes us one-dimensional...It takes away that extra imagination and the flow of the mind, hence destroying the true, purest ideas of mind...I look forward to the day when Ritalin isn't an answer, and every student is labeled 'learner.'"

    Source: Matt Sherbal, age 14 writing in his school newspaper.

    "I don't want to play"
    "It makes me sad"
    "I wouldn't smile or anything"
    "It numbed me out"
    "It takes over of me. It takes control"
    "I feel 'wild' after it wears off."

    Source: Institute of Child Behavior at the University of llinois. Sleator, Ullman, and von Newman, 1982.

    The zombie effect

    "The amphetamine look, a piched, somber expression is harmless is itself, but worrisome to parents who can be reassured."

    Source: Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry. L. Eugene Arnold and Peter S. Jensen, 1995.

    "(The drug) produced a marked increase in compliance and sustained attention to the activities assigned during the structured task session."

    Source: Cunningham and Barkely, 1978. Cited in Greggin's "Talking Back to Ritalin"

    Some of the symptoms of ADD and ADHD: A description of childhood

  • Fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork
  • Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork
  • Often avoids, dislikes or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort
  • Is easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
  • Is often forgetful in daily activities

  • Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
  • Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations where it is inappropriate
  • Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
  • Is often "on the go" as if "driven by a motor"
  • Often has difficulty awaiting turn

    Source: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, IV, Washington DC, American Psychiatric Association, 1994.

    Read about the familes who say "no"

    The risks of prescribing stimulants for children


  • Talking Back to Ritalin: What doctors aren't telling you about stimulants for children
    by Peter Beggin MD, the bestselling author of "Talking Back to Prozac"

  • Dr. Breggin's web site: An excellent resource

  • Rita Kirsch: A non-medical, no-drug approach to the problem

  • One of the early proponents of using psychoactive drugs to manage the behavior of healthy children: Reverend Jim Jones

    Share your story of how your family said no
    to the chemical coersion of your children.