Add these millions of painkiller abusers to the millions of youth prescribed Ritalin, Prozac, Zoloft, Welbutrin, and the multitude of other psychotropic Class II pharmaceutical drugs ingested by teens, America might very well have ten to twenty percent of it’s youth drugged with illegal or poorly monitored psychotropic medications.
I say poorly monitored because my experience as a guardian ad-Litem is that psychotropic drugs are being distributed to many children for many reasons without the therapy that would insure the monitoring of serious side effects. Many of the terrible murders and suicides being witnessed today have been committed by youth using Prozac, Ritalin and other psychotropic medications without adequate therapies.
How many teachers are aware of the number of children in their classrooms using these drugs (legally or illegally?).
Fifty to seventy percent of the children in the Juvenile Justice system have diagnosable mental illness. As a guardian ad-Litem, I believe the statistic holds true for children in the Child Protection system also (50% to 75%.)
Teachers and administrators are being blamed for the high rate of dropouts and low student achievement. I would make the argument that the number of drug using and mentally ill children in our schools today interferes dramatically with the business of education. Don’t blame the teachers or school administrators. What’s wrong is poor public policy.
A discussion around early childhood programs, mental health services, and the use of psychotropic medications is overdue.