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.”