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Parents Are Drugging Kids to Get Ahead!

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Parents are willing to give their kids drugs to improve academic performance and increase focus. Would you?

Ritalin, girl studying

According to a recent article in the New Yorker, college students are taking neurological drugs like Adderall and Ritalin to help them party hard -- while giving them an academic edge. What's even worse is that this trend isn't just occurring in colleges. Parents are giving their young kids Ritalin to help them gain a competitive advantage over their peers, even when they're not suffering from ADD or ADHD.

While it may come as a surprise to many of you, pediatrician Dr. Anatoly Belilovsky isn't surprised at all: "This is a more common situation and tendency than many might realize," he says. "Asking for stimulants to beat other competitive school applicants is not a far step from yelling 'Kill him!' at a hockey game. It is perhaps worth noting that ours is not a society that eats the runts of its litters, but enough families act as if it were. Giving children these drugs (when they are not medically necessary) can give them an edge over their 'un-enhanced peers,'" says Belilovsky. "Imagine your thoughts jumping around inside your brain like middle-schoolers at recess," he explains. "Stimulants make them behave more like Marines on maneuvers."

Given the list of side effects from these drugs, it's surprising doctors are prescribing them at all in non-medically necessary cases: paranoia, sleep issues, being hyper-focused, dehydration, crash and burn, appetite loss, and nausea all add up to outweigh any academic benefits, yet many parents don't seem to agree.

How far would you go to give your kid an edge?

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51 comments so far | Post a comment now
Cheryl May 14, 2009, 9:08 AM

This is frightening to me. I would never medicate my children for something like this. My girls will have to compete without drug enhancement. Contrary to popular belief, it is ok to have average children.

Kylee Lane May 14, 2009, 11:45 AM

“when they are not medically necessary” !!! Is this not setting our children up for drug dependency their entire lives?! It will benefit your children WAY MORE if you spend time teaching them rather than just drugging them.

Sue Atkins May 14, 2009, 11:51 AM

As a former Deputy Headteacher and class teacher of 22 years I am very concerned by these findings. I have taught children who were on Ritalin and they were often frightened, depressed and bewildered about how they felt. I now coach parents into accepting their children as they are. Children need to be accepted for who they are not what they achieve.

Sue Atkins
Author of “Raising Happy Children for Dummies”

JenniferG May 14, 2009, 11:55 AM

This is infuriating. My son has ADD and we have tried some of the medications listed with HORRIBLE results. He developed tics and had serious depression. He is only nine!

Why would anyone risk that if they didn’t have to? It is beyond me!

dee May 14, 2009, 12:04 PM

the doctors who prescribe these drugs should lose their licenses to practice medicine. i believe far more children are being medicated than is necessary. it is a mark of our society that we want a quick fix to everything and because an “authority” tells us something we blindly follow rather than trusting our own instincts about doing what is best for our own less than perfect children. some kids just require parents to be more patient and allow them the freedom flit from subject to subject or stand while they work. it’s easier if you home school a child who cannot comform to the classroom.

Lisa has 6 daughters May 14, 2009, 12:08 PM

wow- what a sick and twisted thing to do. Who would do this? Wow. I’m shocked. Disgusted and shocked.

Symone May 14, 2009, 12:40 PM

It is clear that parents want the best for their children. Having said that we have to start by simply parenting. If parents would first educate themselves on how to educate their children from birth that is the biggest head start you can give your child. Often times we wait until the learning window closes to expose the basics such as reading and writing. Drugs are not intended to do our job. We are our children first teacher.

JaNohn May 14, 2009, 1:51 PM

This is just a mess. How lazy are we?

jackie May 14, 2009, 2:33 PM

as scary as this sounds i would not put it past some parents to do this! The article is right, what about all the crazy sports parents that get into fights and do all kinds of crazy stuff. What about the moms who put their little daughters in pageants and spray tan them when they’re two??? There are sooo many parents out there willing to compromise their children for their own gains. Gross and scary.

Miranda May 14, 2009, 10:25 PM

When I was 18, I was misdiagnosed with ADD and given Concerta. I can tell you that the feeling is similar to chugging Redbull 24/7. You shake, you vomit, you can’t sleep, etc. The chemical makeup is similar to cocaine, and if it affected an 18 year old, what does it do to an 8 year old?
Why don’t we focus at letting kids grow and learn at their own pace (unless, of course, they are way way behind others their age) instead of worrying that our four year-olds are superior to the other kiddies?

JAMIE May 18, 2009, 5:32 AM

I am with ‘Miranda’ , when I wa 15 I was diagnosed with several different conditions…bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression etc. I was put on several different types of meds. During this time I was heavily medicated, I became suicdal, I had crazy fits of rage(none of this happened prior) I was unable to cope with my own stress. Mind you I grew up very rough(on my own @ 13yrs) My only issue I really had was being uncared for by anyone…a product of the state…Now I am 27yrs old…I DONT HAVE BIPOLAR OR ADHD and if I do have depression, I deal with it on my own. These meds screwed me up….for those of you who say it wasnt the meds…it all started about 2 monthes after I started them…ended 3 months after I stopped taking them….no issues mentally since. MEDS+ kids=rollercoaster emotions, suicide, and a hell of a time coping. MY ADVICE IS TO JUST TAKE A DAMN INTREST IN YOUR KIDS. I am a single mom who works 60hrs a week…If I have time, so should YOU!

alerguill June 20, 2009, 2:07 PM

growing main region fuel

Brunner Markus January 16, 2010, 5:14 PM

Hello, if anyone needs Ritalin,

just send a mail to

best regards


Gundosuqh June 28, 2010, 11:48 PM

Aloha! dqe

jonn2 December 11, 2010, 11:29 PM


jonn2 December 12, 2010, 12:23 AM


jonn2 December 12, 2010, 1:16 AM


jonn3 December 12, 2010, 2:09 AM


jonn3 December 25, 2010, 2:40 AM


jonn2 January 2, 2011, 10:32 PM


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