Kids and Drugs

Wading through my email I first came upon this:

Teens Turn Away From Street Drugs, Move to Prescription Drugs, New Report Reveals (from Docuticker)

While that doesn’t really surprise me–this next story combines a sense of sadness and disgust:

Debate Over Children and Psychiatric Drugs (New York Times) which outlines the death of a 4 year old who had been on a cocktail of psychiatric drugs for two years.

Is it a surprise that when we start labeling and drugging our children at two—that by the teen years they feel it necessary and normal to be seeking out more medications illegally?

Having worked in medical information, having been around people who are on and who prescribe the medications, I know there is need for them. I know people for whom these medications have made all the difference in the world–but on equal occasion there seems to be people who are regularly misdiagnosed and labeled and forced to misthink themselves as having a condition that they don’t really suffer from.

How do you diagnose a two year old with ADD and Bi-Polar? While I’m sure a very small amount of children do portray these serious conditions at this age, how do you know the difference between the boundless energy and moodiness of a toddler with a short attention span and a serious problem? This is not a ten year old suffering in school with a five minute attention span–this is a toddler. The lawyers for the parents (who are on trial) are asking if the doctor should have prescribed…but isn’t it the parents’ responsibility to decide if the child is taking the drugs? Here was no teenager sneaking a pill from a friend’s parent’s medicine cabinet. Here was a toddler who might, just might, have done better with Flintstones chewable vitamins…

Obviously I don’t know all of the details in the case but I think these occurrences will continue to rise. Personally, the whole thing confuses me–the only time I’ve had a prescription pain killer was just following having all four of my wisdom teeth out. Illicit drug use, though available since early high school, just never was a draw for me.

I’ll hop off my soapbox now.