Op-Ed on the Netflix Take Your Pills Documentary

           Netflix today is releasing for streaming a documentary, Take Your Pill, which highlights how pervasive and deep the use of legal and illegal Adderall has become in the young people of our country.  I wrote my first Ritalin prescription for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 1978.  But over the past four decades I’ve spoken out about the over use of prescription stimulants for children.  More recently I’ve become very concerned about the misuse and abuse of Adderall.  I first mentioned my worries about a nation “Running on Ritalin” in 1998.  It’s taken twenty years, but now I’m both saddened and relieved that our country is finally taking notice of this problem.


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USA Today Op-ed "Why Are My Patients Cutting Themselves"

This Op-ed First Appeared in the Print Edition of USA Today on February 28th, 2018

I must be a terrible doctor.  At least that was one possibility I thought to account for the six teenage patients of mine who over a recent three-month period presented to emergency rooms for depression and suicidal thinking.  They were all between fourteen and sixteen.  Four of the six were girls.  All of the girls had been actively self-mutilating, colloquially known as “cutting.”  Four of the six were admitted to an in-patient psychiatric ward as significant and immediate “dangers to themselves”.  In other words, they were deemed by the psychiatrist in the emergency room as a potentially dangerous suicide risk.

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With the start of a new semester, parents of college students, especially those taking Adderall, should be on the alert.  Legally prescribed amphetamine in the form of Adderall has become ubiquitous on college campuses and in the more affluent high schools of our country.  The drug is ostensibly being used to treat adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or as it’s more generally known as attention deficit disorder (ADD).  Perhaps even more common is the illegal selling or trading of Adderall to students who have not been designated with ADD, especially at the end of a semester or during exam time.

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