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Friday, October 12, 2012

Stephen Colbert on medicating kids rather than providing them with the resources -- and smaller classes -- that they need

On Tuesday, there was a stunning article in the NY Times by Alan Schwarz, showing how many doctors are prescribing amphetamines to children, not because they have ADHD, but to try to counteract the inadequate conditions in their schools:
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”  ...

The superintendent of one major school district in California, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, noted that diagnosis rates of A.D.H.D. have risen as sharply as school funding has declined.

“It’s scary to think that this is what we’ve come to; how not funding public education to meet the needs of all kids has led to this,” said the superintendent, referring to the use of stimulants in children without classic A.D.H.D. “I don’t know, but it could be happening right here. Maybe not as knowingly, but it could be a consequence of a doctor who sees a kid failing in overcrowded classes with 42 other kids and the frustrated parents asking what they can do. The doctor says, ‘Maybe it’s A.D.H.D., let’s give this a try.’ ”
Below, Stephen Colbert gives a brilliant commentary on this phenomenon that you must see.


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