estimated six million of our children are taking powerful prescription
amphetamines known to speed freaks as the champagne of uppers. And
everybody wants the kids to take more, more, more!
recent report from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), says the number
of U.S. kids taking methylphenidate (brand names Ritalin, Metadate and
Concerta) has skyrocketed, thanks to greedy drug companies, impatient
parents, overwhelmed school systems and prescription-happy doctors.
Although methylphenidate was banned in Sweden in 1968 and is considered
a Schedule II controlled substance (like cocaine, morphine, opium and
barbiturates), it has become the “drug of choice” in America for
treating Attention Deficit Disorder — a diagnosis that teachers,
doctors and parents eagerly slap on energetic kids who act up in class.
for Ritalin have increased by more than 500 percent in this decade, and
in some schools as many as 20 percent of students are hooked on the
pills. Speed freaks and cocaine fiends love the stuff, too. Some snort
it, others inject it (referred to as “west coast”), some inject it
mixed with heroin (called a “speedball”), while still others even mix
it with both cocaine and heroin for a more “potent” high.
have gotten so hooked on Ritalin that it’s among the Top 10 controlled
substances stolen from U.S. pharmacies. The DEA says the drug thieves,
drug pushers and drug abusers are almost always children. In 1991, U.S.
emergency rooms reported less than 25 methylphenidate overdoses. By
1995, that number was up to 400 cases for children aged 10 to 14 —
about the same as the number of cocaine overdoses reported in this age
group. Snorting of Ritalin was blamed for three deaths.
the less serious side effects, children might lose weight, have
problems falling asleep, have decreased appetites, exhibit zombie-like
behavior, and temporarily grow more slowly while taking the
medications. Other side effects can include cardiac arrhythmia,
depression, psychosis, facial tics, behavior or thought disorders
(exactly what it is supposed to treat), seizures, headaches, liver
damage, blurred vision, drug dependence, and inclination for criminal
schools around America continue keeping large stashes of the stuff on
hand to dispense freely to their speed-happy charges. As children
become teenagers, they continue taking Ritalin and other stimulant
drugs, and many believe it’s a smart drug that helps them study.
August 22, 2002, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)
published an article on the results of a study that showed
methylphenidate was a more powerful stimulant than cocaine. The irony
for millions of American children, adolescents and teenagers… “Just say
no to drugs! By the way, here’s your Ritalin!”
What Parents Need to Know
are powerful incentives to force this drug on children. Did you know
that school districts get millions of state and federal dollars to care
for children who are labeled ADHD and drugged? This clearly
demonstrates a possible financial incentive for schools to label/drug
children. It also backs up the alarming increase and rise in labeling
and drugging of children in the last decade.
you know that parents receiving welfare money from the government can
get additional funds for every child they have labeled and drugged? In
this way, many lower socioeconomic parents (many times single mothers)
are reeled into the drug by these financial incentives waved in front
of them in hard times, making lifestyle changes possible.
you know that by labeling your child with ADHD, you are labeling them
with a mental illness listed in the DSM-IV, the unscientific billing
bible of psychiatry? Did you know that a child taking stimulant drugs
after the age of 12 is ineligible for military service? Did you know
that the subjective checklists that are being given as criteria for
diagnosing ADHD are alarmingly similar to the checklists used to
determine gifted and talented children?
you know that groups like Children and Adults with Attention
Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (CHADD) and others available to parents
are being supplied financially by pharmaceutical companies? This is a
red flag and demonstrates a conflict of interest in the role that these
groups have regarding our children’s health and well-being.
you know that the DEA’s statement on methylphenidate thoroughly
contradicts what is being told to many parents by the many
professionals who have a vested stake in the diagnosis itself? The DEA
clearly stated in their report on methylphenidate, “However, contrary
to popular belief, stimulants like methylphenidate affect normal
children and adults in the manner that they affect ADHD children.
Behavioral or attentional improvement with methylphenidate therefore is
not diagnostic of ADHD” (pg 11). The DEA further states, “Of particular
concern is that most of the ADHD literature prepared for public
consumption by CHADD and other groups, and available to parents, does
not add the potential abuse pattern or acts of abuse of
methylphenidate. Instead, it is routinely portrayed as being a benign,
mild substance that is not associated with abuse or serious side
effects. In reality, however, there is an abundance of scientific
literature which indicates that methylphenidate shares the same abuse
pattern as other Schedule II stimulants” (pg 4).
you know that there are studies, such as the Berkeley Study, that
contend that Ritalin and other stimulants further raise the risk of
drug abuse? From the Wall Street Journal, Monday, May 17, 1999, by
Marilyn Chase: “Nadine Lambert, a Professor of Education, followed
almost 500 children for 26 years. She argues that exposure to Ritalin
makes the brain more susceptible to the addictive power of cocaine and
doubles the risk of abuse.”
find it interesting that the Berkeley Study never seems to make it into
the hands of parents because it doesn’t support the theory of those
using the diagnosis of ADHD to profit off our children. However, what
does seem to make it into every parent’s hands are results indicating
“if children go untreated (meaning they are not drugged), they will
self-medicate with illegal drugs or end up as juvenile delinquents.”
What most don’t know is much of the biased and unproven research (such
as the Beiderman study) infecting our schools today, is being
distributed by pharmaceutical companies, like Novartis, the
manufacturer of Ritalin.
Diet’s Far Reaching Effects
are up against the wall with this problem. Most don’t know that today’s
diet is the main culprit of the ADHD epidemic. And most have never
heard it said that simple meal modification and food supplement
treatment may be of equal efficacy to Ritalin treatment. (Harding et
al. Harvard Medical School)
you know that the brand of ice cream, cookie and potato chip you
select, and the type of fruit or vegetable you choose can have a direct
effect on you and your child’s behavior, health and ability to learn?
How about that your irritability, hyperactivity and hives could be
triggered by certain chemicals in the products you purchase? Although
conventional medicine has told us for years that diet has no role in
ADHD, Benjamin Feingold, M.D. suggested 30 years ago in a speech to the
AMA that additives — artificial colors, flavor enhancers, thickeners,
bleaching and anti-caking agents, and preservatives — are to blame for
1979-1983 one million school children in New York City were involved in
a study based on the Feingold diet. Over the four-year period, the
school eliminated artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives and
reduced the amount of sugar in the cafeteria food. This resulted in a
41 percent increase in National Test Scores.
today continue to confirm the Feingold diet. Boris et al found that 55
percent of the children responded favorably to elimination of all food
dyes and additives subsequently reacted negatively when fed a single
dye such as tartrazine, or yellow dye No. 5, at various levels. The
behavioral changes noted were irritability, restlessness and sleep
disorders. A year later, Boris et al evaluated 26 children at Cornell
Medical Center and found 73 percent (19 children) responded favorably
to a multiple-item elimination diet. If a child reacted to an item, it
was withdrawn and subsequently challenged to confirm the reaction. All
19 children reacted to a number of foods, dyes and preservatives.
et al, at the Yale University School of Medicine, studied differences
in the response to sugar in 17 ADHD and 11 normal children. After an
all-night fast, the children drank a glucose beverage containing eight
times the amount of sugar the brain can use in an hour. Then three
hours after their sugary meal, both groups were given a battery of
tests to measure cognitive performance. The normal response to a sugar
onslaught is an outpouring of insulin, which quickly reins in rising
blood sugar. The adrenal glands then release noradrenaline and
epinephrine (catecholamine hormones) to counterbalance the rapid drop
showed ADHD children had only released half the amount of
catecholamines as the normal children. ADHD children’s PET scans showed
markedly reduced brain activity caused by insufficient glucose for
processing information. Not surprisingly, their test scores were much
worse than those of the children who did not have ADHD.
did not affect all the ADHD children uniformly, however. Many became
increasingly hyperactive, with the research teams concluding that the
children were jumping around in an unconscious biochemical attempt to
get their brains to pump more noradrenaline and epinephrine.
children in the Girardi study became calm after the sugar surge; their
bodies locked onto another of sugar’s effects — carbohydrates,
especially sugar, raise serotonin levels in the brain, which cause
drowsiness. Protein, on the other hand, raises catecholamine levels and
is arousing. Parents can test children’s response to sugary foods first
thing in the morning and after a protein-containing meal to determine
the child’s response. In most cases, it is best to feed the child
complex carbohydrates and eliminate simple sugars. Emphasis should also
be placed on protein foods for breakfast and lunch, and complex
carbohydrates for dinner. Adjust snacks based on when they are to be
customizing the diet and supplementing with missing nutrients, the
faulty communication in a child’s or adult’s brain can be repaired and
behavior modified. The right diet and supplements can make drugs
unnecessary for kids with ADD/ADHD.
Nutrition: The Best Medicine
is the best medicine. A complete program for a person with ADD/ADHD
includes supplements as well as careful meal planning. Noticeable
improvement is often seen with the following supplements:
1. B-complex vitamins:
Most commonly deficient in ADHD children. Help with correct brain
function as they are important for the production of the catecholamines
Needed for proper mental functioning and brain energy. Precursors to
acetylcholine, the memory neurotransmitter and catecholamines of the
brain which enhance the creation of new neural pathways for ease in
3. Vitamin A, C and E:
Help prevent and treat ADHD by protecting the nervous system from free
radical attack, helping the body make neurotransmitters, and important
for helping the body clear damaging metals out of the system (lead,
4. Amino Acids:
Research indicates that people with ADHD are deficient in amino acids.
Amino acids allow smooth, balanced cognition and fluid transition from
thought to disciplined action. They also aid in the reduction of stress
and cognitive overload.
5. Essential Fatty Acids:
Support and promote the building of the body’s neural pathways
especially needed by those easily distracted and who find it difficult
to sustain and direct attention.
ADHD children are most often deficient in iron, magnesium and zinc.
Iron is the most common of all nutritional deficiencies in U.S. school
children, and it is associated with narrower attention span, decreased
resistance and lowered activity levels, which all respond well to
supplements. Adequate levels of these minerals (and others),
particularly zinc and magnesium, prevent the buildup of metals in the
system in the first place. Lead and aluminum are found in cigarette
smoke, while aluminum is found in the cans of the fizzy drinks kid love
and drink so much. These actual metals are linked to problems with
learning, behavior and the nervous system.
proper diagnosis with treatment that seeks to eliminate bad health
habits along with a supportive home and school environment can enable a
child with ADHD to effectively manage their condition and fulfill both
their academic and personal potential. I encourage you, as parents, to
research options and speak to your doctor about your concerns. In my
opinion, simply suppressing the effects of the causes or bad habits
with drugs is not the optimal approach.
Oats is co-founder of Wellness International Network, Ltd.® (WIN),
headquartered in Plano, TX. WIN, its officers and employees are
not engaged in the practice of medicine. The information contained
herein has not, to WIN’s knowledge, been evaluated by the Food and Drug
Administration. WIN does not sell or market its products with intent to
diagnose, treat, cure, mitigate or prevent any specific disease or
class of diseases. If you have a medical condition, see a qualified
health professional. Outside sources stating medical or scientific
opinions and other publication contributors provide information deemed
to be of a general interest. Originally published at The Crossroads Initiative.