On turning children into zombies by mandating medication

Woody responds to my post on an Alternet article about reasons why our youth doesn’t fight back. (Promoted from the comments)

I think #2: “Psychopathologizing and Medicating Noncompliance” is the big killer, and nails it on the head.

I’ve been dating a “Gen Y” for a few years now, and have been able to observe lots of people in that age range. They’re petrified of acting out too much for fear of being medicated. One interesting bit that most of them agreed on was that close to 80% of their graduating class was on some type of drug, generally a Ritalin derivative, many from middle school or earlier. If a student becomes “disruptive” or problematic, especially in rural or suburban schools, they’re put on something that effectively stuns them. The bright ones figured out that rebellion meant becoming a drugged zombie. Better to lay low and try to not get caught up in things. The not-as-bright… became drugged zombies.

Most US schools today have an entire system (if not a staff member or two) devoted to administering drugs to students, because they don’t want the kids having them in the school without supervision. We’re talking about drugs that can literally change the chemical balance of the brain permanently, that have only been around for 5 to 10 years. They’re using high school and middle school kids as guinea pigs. In some states they were literally doing so.

Think being forced against your will to take mind altering drugs doesn’t set back social movements? Tell me why it took so long for LGBT movements to do anything in the US. Did gay people not exist until the 1970s? No… But when you could be legally carted off and involuntarily subjected to untested drugs, shock treatments, castration and/or lobotomies, it had a chilling effect. The AMA changed their stance on homosexuality in the early 1970s, and 40 years later we have thriving communities, despite being overly affected in the 80s by a global pandemic. From mentally deranged to married in a generation? That’s saying something.

In a few states there have been cases where parents trying to refuse medication on behalf of their child have been dragged into family court, and/or have had their children taken from them. This is true not only of Ritalin, but also for AZT and other drugs used to “prevent” problems in children. In two states now (including NY) pregnant women are compelled by law to have an HIV test. If found positive, a court can legally force them to take AZT while pregnant (with unknown effects on the fetus), and give their children AZT for months after they’re born. If they refuse, they face jail time and having their kids taken into state custody. We’re even exporting this madness to Canada.

The UK and Dubi don’t hand out mental suppressants like candy, as is done in the US. Nor is treatment of children forced by schools or the state as quickly or as broadly as it’s done here. Forcing someone (even kids) into taking such medication is much harder in most other countries, including the ones with ongoing riots.

Most countries also have laws, or at least social norms, that prevent psychiatrists from taking kickbacks for prescribing tons of medication to sedate their victims clients. Not so in the US where such practices are common. Just take a look around the next time you’re in a waiting room, and you’ll see the logos of “sponsors” all over the place. From post-it notes to charts to major office equipment, anyone with their eyes open can see it.

I’m old enough to have escaped that. During my childhood, I was hyperactive, in my teens, highly rebellious, and had a serious stutter through all of it (the stutter is mostly gone, thankfully.) I’ve no doubt that schools of today would zonk a child like that into a near coma on supposedly helpful pharmaceuticals. This is basically a crowd control measure, zombie children are less troublesome, and the authorities don’t have to spend bothersome time determining what the actual problems are. It also shows how pathetic our educational system has become and also how schools have too much power. Medication for a child, except for life-threatening circumstances perhaps, should be the decision of the parents not of the schools.

Also, sometimes rebellion is a healthy reaction to unhealthy times.

  • DJ

    God, I hate shrinks. I struggle with PTSD as a result of some of the work I did in Sri Lanka. At times, the nightmares are unbearable. Over the past dozen years I have on occasion seen two different psychiatrists for “help.” Each of them has had in their file (because I insist on it) the fact that I am a recovering drug addict. One, while looking at my file, told me he wanted to put me on Ritalin. The other, frustrated that I would not accept any of his proffered prescriptions, finally said to me one day, “I know you say you’re a recovering addict, but some people need to be addicted to Valium.” Uh-huh.

    In my view, both of them tried to kill me.

  • woody

    That’s probably one good reason to instead seekout a psychologist. they work through problems without mind altering drugs. It can take longer, and be a rougher road, but it tends to work better in the long run.

    I also have ADHD, but wasn’t diagnosed with it until college (since it didn’t exist until then). When I tried a couple of the drugs prescribed, I found they all had one common symptom: I lost my ability to think creatively and to solve complex logic problems. I know that because as a programmer, losing those two items make a world of difference in productivity and speed. Had I been drugged up from age 8 on, I may have never gone into the field I’m in now, for lack of capability.

    • I’m a programmer too. Yes, sometimes you need to concentrate ferociously hard on a programming problem and be creative at the same time. You can’t do that with dulled thinking.

      My wife half-jokes that I have ADHD plus I “never stop moving, even when I’m sleeping”. I’ve also been self-employed for a long-time programming and none of it seems to be a hindrance. I multi-task well.

      Some opine Bill Gates has a mild case of Asperger’s which has allowed him to concentrate super-hard on problems and projects.

    • There are also tons of divisions within the psychiatric community. There are a lot of hacks out there, but there are still psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who try to use drugs appropriately, rather than just pimping for the drug companies.

      A very close relative of one of those people I’m talking about

      • And meds can help. My sister is bi-polar. Meds have allowed her to have a happy, productive life.

        But using meds in schools as a method of crowd control is just wrong.

        • DJ

          My wife is also bipolar. She needs a delicately-balanced regimen of meds to (quite literally) keep her sane. But she’s had a tough time finding a shrink she can trust. Three years ago, as her meds were going off track, her shrink refused to see her even after we waited in his waiting room for two hours with my wife visibly shaking badly. This landed her a 5-day hospital stay from the *physical* effects of badly-adjusted medication. There are definitely valid uses for these medications, and there are good shrinks – just not enough of them and no screening to help us find one.

          @Woody: The HMO I had at the time required me to see a shrink before it would permit me to see any kind of therapist.

          • My sister went off her meds once and ended up homeless and clinically psychotic. She is now religious about taking her meds and monitoring her symptoms. And has a responsible job and is happily married.

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