The Drugging of our Children

01-05-2014Fr. John LettersFr. John

Dear Friends,

Just so you know it is not my imagination….

Dr. Kevin Conners who for the past 50 years has been cheerleading for the legitimization of ADHA (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) in a recent NY Times article (12.14.13) had this to say about the ever-increasing rates of ADHD diagnosis:

He noted that recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that the diagnosis had been made in 15 percent of high school-age children, and that the number of children on medication for the disorder had soared to 3.5 million from 600,000 in 1990. He questioned the rising rates of diagnosis and called them “a national disaster of dangerous proportions.” “The numbers make it look like an epidemic. Well, it’s not. It’s preposterous,” Dr. Conners, a psychologist and professor emeritus at Duke University, said in a subsequent interview. “This is a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels.”

No coincidence as the article points out that the rise in ADHD diagnoses goes hand in hand with a very successful marketing campaign for stimulant drugs to treat ADHD. Most of which are listed as Class 1 Controlled Substances (right up there with Cocaine) and whose manufacturers have repeatedly been cited by the Food & Drug Administration for false and misleading advertising about these stimulants.

One marketing campaign even lists “Famous People with ADHD” just so you feel like you’re in good company ( Among the listed are: Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Galileo, Mozart, Beethoven, Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Graham Bell, Rodin, Louis Pasteur, Walt Disney and John Lennon. None of these were ever “diagnosed” with ADHD, in fact the diagnosis wasn’t even developed during most of their lifetimes but why let the facts get in the way.

But I would venture to say that if they had been diagnosed with ADHD and put on stimulants we probably would never have even heard of any of them. The drug would have worked against that same unique part of their personality that pushed them to achieve great things. Which means history would be without the Gettysburg Address, no Ninth Symphony from Beethoven, no Last Supper from da Vinci, maybe no telephone or light bulb, no Disney World to Imagine.

So through a combination of drive-through diagnoses by physicians who are in the thrall of Big Pharma, clever marketing and parents at their wits-end, bingo! We have succeeded in changing normal childhood behavior into an illness that needs treatment. In many cases we fail to treat the child’s environment, which is often the real cause of problem behavior (divorce doubles a child’s chance of being put on stimulants, children spend more of their time in institutions, school, afterschool, before school programs than the family). Or we simply don’t know how to or want to work with a child whose unique personality requires not so normal ways of developing and maturing. The problem is not in a brain pathology but in a different cognition style that often doesn’t do well with standard learning techniques or teaching methodology. And most children will eventually even out and develop the skill they need to be successful adults.

But that doesn’t stop the ADHD industry from claiming that it is a “lifelong” problem even though there is no scientific research to back that up. So the latest push is for Adult ADHD. Again there is a really slick marketing campaign ( with an on-line quiz you can take to see how likely you are to have ADHD. I passed with flying colors. Among the questions asked: “How often do you have trouble wrapping up the final details of a project, once the challenging parts have been done?” Well for me very often, which is according to the website a sign of possible ADHD. Well the fact is that I get bored and the final details are better suited for secretaries, admin assistants, typists, data entry specialists, stenographers, isn’t that what they do? Do I have ADHD because I know my part and when it is finished? Or yet another quiz question: “How often do you have problems remembering appointments or obligations?” All the time, that’s why I have a calendar where I write down my appointments. And finally, “Do you fidget or squirm with your feet or hands when you have a long wait time?” Yes, like most men I don’t do waiting too well. Learning patience is a life long process. Ergo, ADHD solved with the help of Katherine Gibbs, calendars and the Rosary, no medication!

I’m not making light of the challenges some people face with their unique personalities but trying to show that seeking solutions other than the quick fix of a diagnosis and pill leads to lifelong solutions that don’t have the dangerous side effects of chemicals or the psychological trauma of thinking you are somehow defective. No you are not, you are in fact made in God’s image and likeness and you are just manifesting a different side of that.

Love, Fr. John B.