- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 16, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

I was mildly amused and saddened by Armstrong Williams’ Op-Ed column “California doping our youths” (Nation, Dec. 7).

As a school psychologist, I am appalled by the massive drugging of our youth, some as young as 2 years old, with drugs for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Mr. Williams laments the latest marketing of marijuana to children for this disorder because of all the side effects.

It is important to point out that ADHD drugs - such as Ritalin, Concerta and Adderall - also have side effects, including suppressing body growth, killing brain cells, causing insomnia, causing biochemical imbalances in the developing brain and causing tics and other abnormal movements. In addition, these drugs can cause depression, agitation, mania, lethargy, robotic behaviors or even heart failure.

Furthermore, the Drug Enforcement Administration classifies Ritalin as a Schedule II substance, along with cocaine and morphine. Unfortunately, Ritalin is one of the most popular teen street drugs.

A healthier solution would be good parenting skills and a healthy diet. Having parents provide unconditional love with healthy boundaries is much more productive than dosing millions of children on mind-altering drugs.

REBECCA CHESNER

Baltimore

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