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PERSPECTIVE

RITALIN RIPPLE EFFECT

by JANN FLURY  

EducationNews.org

If parents plied their children with alcohol or cocaine to alter their behaviour, that would be a crime­ a clear case of child abuse. Such parents would be forced, by law, to surrender their children to some government welfare agency. Yet, in modern society, our educators, in collusion with the school psychologist and the family physician, regularly badger and coerce parents into feeding their children­ especially boys­ a harmful prescription of Ritalin.

According to government sources, Ritalin is "a central nervous system stimulant and shares many of the pharmacological effects of amphetamine, methamphetamine, and cocain." Hardly a drug to trifle with. Still, Ritalin has become the drug of choice for "curing" a number of real and imaginary learning disabilities­ disabilities often misdiagnosed as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Ritalin has become a sort of cure-all for poor teaching and learning­ used and abused by all concerned.

Teenagers consider Ritalin a safe drug to try out because it is widely prescribed to classmates and siblings. So they experiment and soon find out that it feels good and acts just like an amphetamine and, therefore, can be abused like an amphetamine with the same harmful side and after effects. The media has reported that Ritalin is now exchanged at school playgrounds for money, and it has become known as a form of "kiddie cocaine." The Jewish World Herald has issued a plea to "Stop the Ritalin Racketeers." Another publication states that Ritalin is used to sedate active young boys, and that psychologists and psychiatrists suggest that Tom Sawyer and his buddy Huckleberry Finn would, today, be prime candidates for the Ritalin treatment (think what we would have missed).

Misuse or abuse­ over-prescription­ of Ritalin is widespread. Literature supporting that claim abounds. In some communities the rates of Ritalin usage by school children has reached the scandalous figure of 20%, while in another community the rate may be less than 3%. Such a variation in usage rate, alone, makes the validity of the drug's application suspect and indicates gross misuse and abuse as well as lack of good judgement on the part of physicians.

Perhaps, the most alarming statistic is the fact that Ritalin is prescribed far more frequently for boys than it is for girls. According to one study, three to four times more boys than girls take the drug under doctors' orders. Does that mean ADD and other learning disabilities for which Ritalin is a "cure" are predominantly boy problems? Indications are that some other factors influence the discrepancy. In the politically correct society of today, boys are no longer allowed to be boys. Their unpolished boyish behaviour must be tempered, their restlessness must be calmed, and their attentiveness to the teacher must be enhanced. And if boys have a problem with this modified atypical "un-boyish" behaviour, we have Ritalin to help them conform.

Today, an overwhelming majority of grade-school teachers are women. Schools no longer have male role models for the boys, and churlish boy-type behaviour is no longer understood or tolerated. It is now seen as symptomatic of a violent personality or labeled as a learning disability in need of Ritalin treatment. Male values like courage and competitiveness are seen as aggressive qualities that must be subdued and replaced with the more benign and politically acceptable female traits of compassion, tolerance and understanding. And so, despite Ritalin, boys find themselves in a hostile, adverse school environment, unable to keep up with the girls in study or the woman teacher's behavioural expectations.

An estimated six million children­ mostly boys­ across the USA and Canada are being fed Ritalin to calm them down so they can pay attention to their teacher. However, this doesn't seem to make boys more fond of school. There is an alarming rise in the male dropout rate from high school­ over 40% according to one study done in Quebec.

In the end, modern educators and Ritalin will have a profoundly negative influence on society. Ritalin will have proved to be not only a mind and mood altering drug, it will have become instrumental in altering society. Girls will get educated and fill most meaningful jobs, while nearly 50% of the boys will drop out of school, become unemployable, and sit at home, popping more mind altering or calming pills, watching with serene indifference as the new woman's world rolls by. What a future!

JANN FLURY



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