Teaching today is as challenging as ever, and it is probably fair to say we would all like our classroom environments optimized for learning.

However, the disturbing trend toward nearly automatic diagnoses of ADD and ADHD with their consequent prescriptions for stimulants must be questioned. How could a "chemical straitjacket" be required for up to 50% of students in a classroom? Even more importantly, do we want to be teaching drugged children?

You can and should carefully examine this issue and consider every alternative to a prescription for your students. Here are some tips:

Make sure you are familiar with the policies of your school regarding referrals of problem students. Ensure parents are provided with all sides of the issue.

Recognize that Ritalin, Adderol, and Concerta are drugs with serious side-effects (loss of appetite, sleep disorders, stomach pain, weight loss, fast heartbeat, fever, joint pain, uncontrollable body movements, blurred vision, psychological problems).

"These drugs have been over-promoted, over-marketed and over-sold, resulting in profits of some $450 million annually. This constitutes a potential health threat to many children and has also created a new source of drug abuse and illicit traffic." 

US DEA REPORT - ADD/ADHD Statement of Drug Enforcement Administration
December 12, 1996
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