September 30

Ritalin Outrage: Congress – Big Media Under the Influence of Big Drugs

Ritalin Outrage: Congress_ Big Media Under the Influence of Big Drugs

September 30, 2002

Two hard hitting editorials–one by Nicholas Regush of the other by Tony DiGirolamo of focus on the scorge of Ritalin and the victimization of millions of children who are pushed to becoming addicted to drugs because of irresponsible public policies motivated by greed.

Despite the fact that the DEA has evidence showing that Ritalin is the number 2 drug illegally sold in our schools today,Ritalin pushers continue to claim it is non-addictive. Regush notes: “This is a crisis that should erupt as large in scale as the ongoing interest in CEOs of major corporations.”

Yet, save Congressman Dan Burton, Congress has been asleep. When pressed by Burton at a hearing (prompted by a series in The NY Post), the pushers of Ritalin demurred, acknowledging that a problem exists, but pretending they haven’t a clue about how to tackle the problem.

Regush calls CHADD (Children And Adults with ADHD) “loathsome” and “despicable.” CHADD is the largest of Ritalin’s promotional groups that acknowledges getting $1 million from drug companies. Dr. Richard K. Nakamura, the new director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) could only bring himself to mutter that a problem exists–but failed to call for any measures to contain the problem.

The previous director, Dr. Steven Hyman, a neuroscientist who is an expert in how psychotropic drugs work, published articles noting that repeated exposure to stimulant drugs leads to addiction and alterations in gene expression: Hyman SE: "Initiation and adaptation: a paradigm for understanding psychotropic drug action," Am J Psychiatry 1996; 153:151-162 Yet, Dr. Hyman endorsed a Ritalin experiment that is being conducted on toddlers.

DiGirolamo blasts the major media for ignoring the Ritalin issue as well. He blames the undue influence by big pharmaceutical companies since they have been allowed to advertise in the media. Their advertising dollars ensure that the major media soft-pedals the problem. He cites an example that aired on NBC4 in which at least 11 high school students were recently hospitalized for Ritalin overdose. Authorities confiscated at least 150 pills from a 14 year old.

An example of soft-peddling by the press, is a recent Newsday story by Jamie Talan. Her uncritical description of the Ritalin experiment on toddlers–an experiment that some categorize as addiction by design–failed to address any of the problematic issues. Talan’s article put such a favorable spin on irresponsible tinkering with little children’s brains, that it could have been written by one of the investigators who usually fail to acknowledge their financial contracts with drug companies. See:,1249,405023453,00.html?

When future generations of Americans examine the irresponsible drugging policies and the harm done to children’s developing brains and emotional development, they will cringe at this man-made outrage. They will recoil from this legacy of shame–as did the offspring of the Nazi generation who recoiled from the silent complicity of their parents and grandparents.

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