Many parents already believe that their children are being over drugged. As a teen, I was over drugged, for sure; I was depressed at school, sent to the counselor (a peer “referred” me, though several teachers coldly told me—an “A” student who was quiet and “ideal,” mind you—that I needed “mental help,” one in front of my classmates), then sent to a psychiatrist, who promptly put me on Paxil.
Um, excuse me, but wasn’t it obvious to everyone else why I was depressed? I was brimming with anxiety, trying to ace all of my AP courses while juggling a full-time job, two sports, and a dozen other school organizations—most of which I held office in—while also taking care of two siblings after school and during the summer! It’s no wonder I still have trouble sleeping, after being used to not doing it for years and years of my life. A few simple questions would have made all of this clear.
But it was easier to drug me.
Both as a restaurant manager and as a teacher I saw the impact of drugged teens as well. One boy in particular stands out; he was incredibly intelligent and funny. He was also fidgety, sleepless, wide- and glassy-eyed, and constantly hyperactive, because he was on several medications for his so-called attention problems. Seeing the way he twitched and jerked around the room on the meds broke my heart. We put kids in desks all day long, then we complain when they have the attention span of a rock. While I’d like to think that my time spent teaching, mentoring, tutoring, and raising children was creative and fun, I know that it had to be boring sometimes—and I know that many of my peers, and especially many veteran teachers that I had, were practically sleep-inducing. Yet we think that drugs are the solution rather than a bit of essential physical movement. (Then we cry “Obesity!” when—shock!—the kids, used to not moving anymore, gain weight, and then continue to not move upon graduating.) Even kids as young as preschool age are being put on meds these days.
It turns out that we’re finally getting some scientific studies to back up what many of us know—our kids are being over drugged. Unfortunately, while these studies don’t support exactly what we know, they do show that kids are receiving doses of medicine much higher than they should be (if at all, say I). They also point to an even scarier piece of drugging news, since these kids are all age 3 or younger—and receiving heavy doses of narcotics.
That’s simply unbelievable for me. Firstly, what percentage of 3-year-olds need narcotics to begin with? Surely some of them are legit, but you’ve got to wonder what’s happening to these kids to make them need the drugs in the first place. A pound of prevention and all that, right?
But for those who do get the drugs—such as codeine and hydrocodone—about 4% are getting doses that are way too high for their ages and weights—babies in particular. 1 in 10 babies, it seems, received double the dose that was appropriate for their size.
If you’re as sick by this news as I am, please pass it on—and make sure that you get your prescriptions double—even triple—checked when you fill them for your kids.