It's no secret that some overachieving students abuse prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall or Ritalin to increase their concentration and improve grades. But according to The New York Times, some doctors are now prescribing drugs used to treat attention-deficit disorder to low-income students — even if the kids don't have ADD or another disorder that requires medication. These doctors argue that the drugs, which are often covered by Medicaid, are the cheapest and sometimes only way to help poor kids with fewer resources succeed academically. Of course, this practice is controversial. Kids could get addicted, or the drugs could have a negative impact on a child's still-developing brain. Still, some doctors say it's their best option.
When Dr. Michael Anderson hears about his low-income patients struggling in elementary school, he usually gives them a taste of some powerful medicine: Adderall. ...
Although A.D.H.D is the diagnosis Dr. Anderson makes, he calls the disorder “made up” and “an excuse” to prescribe the pills to treat what he considers the children’s true ill — poor academic performance in inadequate schools.
“I don’t have a whole lot of choice,” said Dr. Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta. “We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The lessons of Japan's latest recession
- Why the poor can't catch a break on Thanksgiving
- How to adopt the perfect rescue dog
- In Ferguson, Michael Brown lost his life — and America's police lost the benefit of the doubt
Subscribe to the Week