Why are we drugging so many of our children, and what effect is this having on their well-being, wonders Julian Weissglass, director of the National Coalition for Equity in Education, in his Sept. 26 Education Week Commentary. The use of antipsychotic drugs to treat children and adolescents in the United States increased by more than five times from 1993 to 2002, Weissglass writes, with the sales of ADHD-related drugs increasing by nearly 500 percent from 1991 to 1999.
In comparison with the rest of the industrialized world, the United States accounts for 85 percent of the world’s methylphenidate—the compound in Ritalin and other brand-name drugs often prescribed for young people labeled with ADHD. Weissglass suggests that much of the increase in prescriptions of psychiatric drugs is because children’s behavior and emotions are difficult for adults to handle.
What do you think? Is growing use of psychoactive drugs for children a problem? Can educators help solve it?
A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.