Attention Disorder or Not, Pills to Help in School

Alan Schwarz, New York Times, October 9, 2012

When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall.

The pills boost focus and impulse control in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill—poor academic performance in inadequate schools.

“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

Dr. Anderson is one of the more outspoken proponents of an idea that is gaining interest among some physicians. They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students in schools starved of extra money—not to treat A.D.H.D., necessarily, but to boost their academic performance.


“We as a society have been unwilling to invest in very effective nonpharmaceutical interventions for these children and their families,” said Dr. Ramesh Raghavan, a child mental-health services researcher at Washington University in St. Louis and an expert in prescription drug use among low-income children. “We are effectively forcing local community psychiatrists to use the only tool at their disposal, which is psychotropic medications.”


Dr. Anderson’s instinct, he said, is that of a “social justice thinker” who is “evening the scales a little bit.” He said that the children he sees with academic problems are essentially “mismatched with their environment”—square pegs chafing the round holes of public education. Because their families can rarely afford behavior-based therapies like tutoring and family counseling, he said, medication becomes the most reliable and pragmatic way to redirect the student toward success.

“People who are getting A’s and B’s, I won’t give it to them,” he said. For some parents the pills provide great relief. Jacqueline Williams said she can’t thank Dr. Anderson enough for diagnosing A.D.H.D. in her children—Eric, 15; Chekiara, 14; and Shamya, 11—and prescribing Concerta, a long-acting stimulant, for them all. She said each was having trouble listening to instructions and concentrating on schoolwork.

“My kids don’t want to take it, but I told them, ‘These are your grades when you’re taking it, this is when you don’t,’ and they understood,” Ms. Williams said, noting that Medicaid covers almost every penny of her doctor and prescription costs.


The disorder [A.D.H.D.], which is characterized by severe inattention and impulsivity, is an increasingly common psychiatric diagnosis among American youth: about 9.5 percent of Americans ages 4 to 17 were judged to have it in 2007, or about 5.4 million children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


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  • Puggg

    Dr. Raghavan is always in the news here in St. Louis for one politically correct thing or another, usually “youth violence.”

    What’s behind this generous use of “ADHD” drugs?  Follow the money.  Dr. Anderson is probably sponsored by the pharmas that make Adderall and similar drugs, and with every diagnosis of supposed ADHD, the school district has yet another “special” or “disabled” student on their hands, which means mo’money from Uncle Sam.

    • Good show.  You must read the right blogs.

      Prescribing drugs for something other than a medical concern is probably a Federal crime. Dr. Adderall above is admitting that he writes scripts for social concerns, not medical ones.

      I figured out the doctor-pharma corrpution thing when I was 12 years old.  A new allergist changed my rescue inhaler.  I presumed different drug, or different dosage.  When I got the first bottle of the new stuff, I compared it to the last bottle of the old stuff, and they were exactly the same save the pharma.  Then I remember that new doctor had all sorts of goodies with the label of the pharma of my “new” inhaler.

  • loyalwhitebriton

    This is all very sinister. In Britain’s highly feminized schools, competitive sport has been all but eradicated. This has led to many young male (especially) students feeling fidgety and restless, and as a consequence many of these kids have been diagnosed (wrongly) with ADHD and prescribed some chemical cosh like Ritalin. What rot! There’s nothing wrong with these kids, they just need to be more active.

    It looks like we are entering a ‘Brave New World’ of mass free will sapping medication, and they are starting with our children. Sinister, creepy, and very real.

    • ncpride

      I agree 100%. This is disturbing on so many levels. It’s not only black kids taking this poison, but just as many White children as well. I always suspected they were giving these drugs much too freely and for the wrong reasons, but now they admit as much. Shocking. These drugs are designed to make these kids sit down and shut up, because parents and teachers simply don’t want to deal with rambunctious children, especially boys. My own young son drives me batty at times with his excessive energy, but I would never consider putting him on drugs to suppress it. It’s natural and healthy and just, well,… MALE…. Completely normal in my opinion.

      • Puggg

        Have you heard those ads on talk radio that start like this?

        “If you have a 11 to 17 year old male child who is showing oppositional disorder, talking back…”

        It’s an advertisement for some psychological mumbo jumbo system that will help you zap the budding manhood out of your son, so he can learn how to be nothing more than a woman with boy parts.

      • Isuzu Buyer

         You completely misunderstand the effect of these drugs. They are stimulants not  tranquilizers. Some people who have a hard time concentrating will engage in rowdy behavior due to restlessness. Sometimes it’s simple fidgeting, other times it’s disruptive classroom behavior as the individual can’t focus on how to behave.

        • ncpride

          It doesn’t matter what they are, they serve the same purpose. The medical ‘symptoms’ of ADHD are fidgeting ,getting up frequently, running or climbing excessively, have difficulty playing quietly, always on the go, often talking excessively. Are they kidding me? They have just described nearly every male child in America. The ‘symptoms’ of ‘inattenion’ are just as ridiculous. I don’t doubt some people can benefit from these drugs, but there is also no doubt they are prescribed for all the wrong reasons ( A LOT ) as the Dr. in this article readily admits.

    • It is worse than that, Loyal WB. The schools are in earnest to completely faggify the tots. In Canada they are confusing the genders and making it a multiple choice. These kids will graduate from schools so emotionally hobbled, so stultified that they will be the most malleable of slaves.  
      The school we’d been taking our kids to tried to put my daughter on these meds. She had a learning disorder – a neurological disorder that affects how her brain works. There needs to be a revolt on a massive scale against this. Brits have done it before. I hope they can do it again.

  • jedsrael

    We demand that Medicaid pay for forced sterialization of the Voodoo Diversity Swarms that plague our breeding grounds with their contaminating pollution and darken our futures with despair.

  • Defiant White

    QUOTE:  “They are prescribing stimulants to struggling students ”

    TRANSLATION:  They are giving stimulants to negroes.

    Do negroes appear under-stimulated to anyone?  They seem pretty stimulated to me:  Stimulated to rob, loot, rape, murder and cause trouble.

    They wouldn’t be stimulated to learn even if they attended the best schools in America.  All his treatment does is generate more problems for whites.

    • dukem1

       Pretty much what i was thinking while reading the article…Which was, give these kids these drugs and apparently it helps them somehow to do what’s expected of them…which may be fine during the school day, but what happens come the weekend…all this energy and focus applied to what?

  • Spartan24708

    My daughter’s birthday is 2 weeks before the eligibility cutoff for kindergarten. I went ahead and let her go although I had grave reservations. This was soon realized when her teacher kept telling me that she wasn’t following instructions or working independently. When I got “grades” for her and they were all “f” grades we pulled her out and put her in pre k in a private school. She is doing wonderfully and understanding all the things the public school was getting blank looks from her on. It is a struggle financially and we may have to eat ramen noodles to keep her there. I will probably home school when my son is old enough for preschool but that is a little more than two years away.

  • refocus

    These psychotropic medications have been and will continue to be used against the white race as a means of “evening the scales a little bit.”

  • Puggg

    NFL player suspended for using Adderall:

    He should have defended himself by saying that he was doing it for social justice and to narrow the achievement gap.