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Zack Lynch is author of The Neuro Revolution: How Brain Science Is Changing Our World (St. Martin's Press, July 2009).
He is the founder and executive director of the Neurotechnology Industry Organization (NIO) and co-founder of NeuroInsights. He serves on the advisory boards of the McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, the Center for Neuroeconomic Studies, Science Progress, and SocialText, a social software company. Please send newsworthy items or feedback - to Zack Lynch.
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May 3, 2004

No Ritalin, No Education?

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Posted by Zack Lynch

CCLE Announces Campaign to Return Choice to Parents (directly from CCLE, please spread the word):

"In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of American school children diagnosed with ADHD (Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder), and treated with medications like Ritalin or Adderall. In some cases, parents are reporting that school administrators are telling them that their child may not attend school unless the child is placed on psychostimulant drugs.

"Government benefits should not be conditioned on the use or nonuse of a psychotropic medicine," says Richard Glen Boire, legal counsel for the Center for Cognitive Liberty & Ethics (CCLE), a nonprofit policy center devoted to protecting freedom of thought.

The CCLE today launches "Making Choices for Children," a national campaign designed to call attention to this issue, and to educate parents on their legal right to make medication decisions for their children, free of coercion by school authorities.

While pro-Ritalin and anti-Ritalin groups have garnered most of the attention in this debate, the CCLE hopes to bring a new perspective to the problem, one that focuses on parental choice rather than on the drugs themselves.

"Parents need to know that they are the ones vested with the legal power to make medication decisions in the best interest of their children," says CCLE legal counsel Boire. "Some parents may decide to place their children on Ritalin, and others may decide not to. Our campaign aims to support a parent's free and informed decision either way."

To that end the CCLE plans to publish a free Parent's Rights Kit, which will contain plain-language information on informed consent rights and additional resources for parents facing coercive school medication practices in their communities.

The CCLE is also working to educate policymakers on the problem, and supports legislation such as the Child Medication Safety Act (HR 1170), a bill currently before Congress that would block federal education funds from going to schools that condition a child's attendance on the use of a medication like Ritalin.

To learn more, obtain helpful resources, or to get involved in returning medication decisions to parents, visit the campaign's website."

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Neuroethics


1. Denny on May 4, 2004 10:37 AM writes...

This is important information. An astounding number of children are misdiagnosed with ADHD, and the drugs have horrible side effects. Some kids are distracted by a hard personal life. Some kids have learning styles that are different from the teacher's teaching style. Some classrooms aren't good learning environments. Some teachers don't teach effectively. Some school subjects aren't very relevant or practical for real life. In any case, treating all problem-student cases as ADHD takes the educational bureaucracy off the hook. All they have to do is drug the kids, not deal with hard problems. It is a national disgrace, and it's really happening.

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