HIGHTOWER: Babies on Drugs

Sometimes I feel I'd be better off just whapping myself upside the head with the daily newspaper, rather than reading it.I sure felt that way when I read a New York Times story about Babies on Drugs. These are not the infamous "crack babies," whose mothers took illegal crack cocaine while pregnant, passing the addiction to their child. Instead, these are mothers and fathers who even more deliberately drug their children, going to reputedly reputable doctors to get technically-legal prescriptions for psychiatric drugs used for dosing their young ones.The Times reports that a new study has found that the use of such stimulants and antidepressants as Ritalin has increased dramatically in the past few years, not merely among hyperactive pre-teens and teens, but now among preschoolers. We're talking about two-three-and-four year olds. Babies! Prozac is also being prescribed ... to these tiny tykes!What kind of "doctors" are doing this? What about the "do no harm" dictum of the Hippocratic Oath? At this age, children's brains are undergoing critical development, and almost nothing is known about the consequences of pouring psychiatric drugs into these developing brains. By the way, these drugs have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating pre-schoolers. Indeed, the package insert for Ritalin specifically warns against prescribing the drug to children under six. Plus, most of these children are not even sick -- as the head of psychiatry at Harvard University put it: "The normal behavior of many two-year-olds and three-year-olds looks a lot like hyperactivity disorder." That's right -- normal children who are going through nothing more serious than the "terrible twos," are getting zonked with these powerhouse prescriptions.This is Jim Hightower saying ... Where's the federal "Drug War" when we really need it? They'll throw you in jail for smoking a joint, but you can get Ritalin for a two-year-old from a doctor. What a horrible joke!

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