Medical Group Warns Against Giving Attention Drugs to Healthy Teens

Healthy children and teenagers should not be given drugs designed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, the American Academy of Neurology said this week. While young people with the disorder benefit from the treatment, the group noted, a growing number of healthy young people are taking these medications in an effort to increase concentration and school performance.

“Doctors caring for children and teens have a professional obligation to always protect the best interests of the child, to protect vulnerable populations, and prevent the misuse of medication,” said position statement author William Graf, M.D. of Yale University, in a news release. “The practice of prescribing these drugs, called neuroenhancements, for healthy students is not justifiable.”

The statement concludes there are both legal and developmental reasons these medications should not be prescribed to healthy children and teens, Reuters reports. The long-term effects of these drugs have not been studied in children, the group notes. Children and teens may not have sufficient decision-making abilities while their cognitive skills and emotional abilities are still developing. In addition, children and teens face the risks of being over-medicated and dependent on the drugs, according to the statement.

“The physician should talk to the child about the request, as it may reflect other medical, social or psychological motivations such as anxiety, depression or insomnia. There are alternatives to neuroenhancements available, including maintaining good sleep, nutrition, study habits and exercise regimens,” Dr. Graf said.

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    Phillip Good

    March 20, 2013 at 6:56 PM

    My 22 yr old son died because of his ADD medicine Ritalin. He had taken the medicine for 10 years and had a 3.85 GPA in college. His world unraveled when he became addicted and started abusing Ritalin for better grades and a pressure to succeed. He told me he hated his life and asked why did you ever give me this drug. I tried to tell him the Psychiatrist and teachers told it would be best. He later went to Memorial Herman PaRC Rehab in Houston and was kicked out after 22 days, 10 days were detox. They said he would not own his addiction. I later found out there sobriety success rate was 20-30% for 1 year. 5 days later he died from an over dose of Ritalin he had received from a doctor who didn’t even know him. He needed help and there is nothing in place in Texas like a national database to flag abuse that should include doctors, pharmacies and insurance companies. Addicts also know how to use multiple doctors and pharmacies and even pay full price to hide the records. He even got Ritalin from an emergency room (12 pills)claiming someone stole his Ritalin and he would lose his job without it.

    Please push to stop this highly addictive drug from being used on young people whose brain is still developing. We are making their lives miserable.

    Phillip Good

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    Brad Melnychuk, ABLE Canada

    March 14, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    This article hit a vein of mine. I am a Narconon Drug Rehab Center consultant, as well as and Education organizational consultant. Most drug addicts of today are addicted to medical drugs. Many of these start young, from prescribed drugs. 30 years ago kids were not given any drugs for slow learning, for being super active, for being defiant and many of them today became successful executives, successful artists, or just ordinary middle class fathers and mothers. I am one of them. You might be too. I am just making a point her to back up this article. There are successful ways to guide a child to a successful life without heavy medications.

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