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.