An astounding 10,000 2- and 3-year-olds in the U.S. are on drugs like Ritalin and Adderall for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder it was reported in 2014. Pediatric “psychopharmacology” treating conduct disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and more has become a gold mine for Pharma. Pre-school kids are even “diagnosed” with schizophrenia. Fifty percent of pediatricians prescribe kids insomnia drugs. Children are ideal patients because they have to do what their parents, teachers and doctors tell them.
Few indeed are the children dosed early with drugs who go on to lead normal, drug-free lives. They have no “normal” to return to—nor can it be known if they ever really needed the psychiatric drugs. Instead, pediatric “psychopharmacology” patients have their drugs increased, switched and supplemented and become lifelong drug customers. Side effects are treated with more drugs and many experience obesity and even diabetes from extreme antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa.
The widespread overmedication of children with psychiatric drugs like Zyprexa has contributed to an epidemic of non-psychiatric drugs. Since 2001, high blood pressure meds for kids have risen 17 percent, diabetes meds 150 percent and heartburn/GERD meds 147 percent. Twenty-five percent of children and 30 percent of adolescents now take at least one prescription for a chronic condition.
In July The New York Times Science section defends the drugging of our children with quotes from doctors paid by Pharma to, well, drug children. When confronted with parents who do not want to drug their children, Dr. Doris Greenberg, a developmental pediatrician in Savannah, Ga., who is associate clinical professor of pediatrics at Mercer University School of Medicine, says she asks them, “What are you worried about, what horror stories have you heard?”
Maybe Greenberg does not read the horror stories. For example, did she read the editorial earlier this year in JAMA Psychiatry titled “The Urgent Need for Optimal Monitoring of Metabolic Adverse Effects in Children and Youngsters Who Take On-label or Off-label Antipsychotic Medication” citing cardiometabolic abnormalities linked to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus? The warnings about the most popular drugs with which children are dosed may conflict with Greenberg’s stock holdings. A Shire-funded 2015 medical course she taught, entitled “Reconsidering Adult ADHD,” says Greenberg “has disclosed that she is a stock shareholder (directly purchased) in Abbott; AbbVie Inc.; GlaxoSmithKline; Johnson & Johnson; Novartis; and Novo Nordisk.”
In the Times apologism, both Greenberg and another doctor actually contend that dosing children on ADHD drugs lessens their chances of “substance abuse later on.” Is that a joke? How are they defining substance abuse—no prescription? ADHD meds are popular street drugs and also sold on campus. I have interviewed many parents whose children are full-fledged drugs addicts beginning with doctor-prescribed ADHD drugs.
Dr. Timothy Wilens, the second doc quoted in the Times article, is chief of the division of child and adolescent psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. He readily admits his “ties” to pharmaceutical companies and actually, shockingly, says he has “an academic obligation to work with the industry.” What? Wilens fits well into today’s government in which both the FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, and head of HHS Alex Azar are shamelessly former Pharma operatives.
Martha Rosenberg is a freelance journalist and the author of the highly acclaimed “Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health,” published by Prometheus Books. Check her Facebook page.