A recent study by the Partnership For a Drug Free America reports that more teens abused a prescription painkiller in 2004, than ecstasy, cocaine, crack, or LSD.

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.

partnership for a drug free America

2 Comments

  1. Rather than “discussions” on mental health, early childhood and good support services for kids in schools, why don’t we start DOING something. I attended a presentation by Jim Koppel of the Children’s Defense Fund on making health care (including mental health) universally available to children in Minnesota. I asked Jim why anyone would oppose such a “no brainer”, I mean really, who doesn’t want health care for kids? Apparently those who are making money and want to maintain the status quo and don’t believe another “entitlement” program is necessary.

  2. Not a profitable demographic…except for the drug companies. I was emancipated at 14 due to abuse, because there is no real venue for abused children, and because of the discomfort we invoke…, I was sent to a state psychiatric hospital from age 14 until nearly 18 and put on so many drugs, I was sick a lot! If it were today, (it was 1985-1988) I would be able to sue! I was told to/made to take drugs for any emotion, reaction, or unpleasant realization! Definitely not encouraged to use my abilities… When one rescues an abused animal do they take the pet to a clinical facility, surrounded by other abused pets, lock them in, make them earn the right to wear a collar 🙂 and go outside, give them drugs when they whimper or bark? Abuse them more? Not usually…we take the pet home, make it comfy, treat them to extra care, outings…compassionately explain why they have the shakes around others…even years after rescuing them…I know people are more complex than pets, but it still makes no sense to isolate and distort the abused person, simply because they were abused. If I were as fragile and damaged and as hopelessly hurt as I was treated, I wouldn’t have survived the abuse…sorry to rant…but according to the medications I was on, I was schizophrenic, psychotic, bi polar, depressed and epileptic…I have dysthymia…and emotional responses to chronic interpersonal betrayal, who wouldn’t…luckily, the regular people, the mental health workers, made my time actually very nice otherwise…sorry again 🙂

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