Sunday, June 23, 2002

More Kids on Drugs

The Sacramento Bee has a comprehensive three-part series "Kids on Meds," covering the increases in drug treatments, from Ritalin to antidepressants, for kids under 18. The kids keep getting younger and the treatments more experimental.

As another measure of the growing emphasis on medication, California spent $24.6 million last year on psychiatric drugs for kids covered by Medi-Cal, the state's insurance program for the poor -- a 32 percent jump over 2000.

The three articles have many stories and examples of the childrens' behavior that led to medication. I can't help but recognize my own children (3 and 5) in some of these stories. And I recognize many other preschool children I have known over the years. I'm not saying that some of these children are not over the top in terms of behavior problems, but I can't help but wonder how many normal children under five might be easier to handle when they are medicated--and perhaps this explains why the use of these medications have tripled in some places.

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