Ritalin is Poison

By Tom DeWeese

Why is America suddenly experiencing an explosion of new mental diseases and disorders never heard of thirty years ago? Why are children seemingly out of control, refusing to listen to parents and teachers, even driven to violence?

Here are two possible reasons to consider. First, it is apparent the psychology industry isn’t opposed to simply making up diseases and disorders if there is money to be made. Second, some research is suggesting that many of the growing diseases and disorders could actually be side effects of the drugs psychologists are pouring into children to “cure” their made-up diseases.

Does that sound harsh or far-fetched? Consider these facts. Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) are complete frauds. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove either exists. Yet, today, almost seven million children have been diagnosed as being ADD or ADHD. And most have been placed on a behavior-altering drug called Ritalin, which is supposed to be the miracle answer to a non-existent problem.


For the past several years schools have had a problem. Some children can’t seem to concentrate on their studies, can’t sit still, can’t stay quiet or can’t keep their attention on any specific activity. At home, parents find the same children to be a disruption in the household. Sometimes the children become violent, certainly uncontrollable.

Clearly something is wrong. Children have been taken to doctors for medical exams. Nothing chemical or physical has been found wrong with them. No brain tumors, no epilepsy, no multiple sclerosis nor any of the known neurological disorders have been found in the children. Schools need answers. Parents need answers. Psychologists need to prove their credentials. So, in the dark, blind as bats, action has been taken.

Dr. Fred A. Baughman, a leading expert and critic of the ADD theory, explains the steps the psychiatry establishment took to create an answer, and establish a name, for what they believe inflicts the children. Says Dr. Baughman, “They (a committee of the American Psychiatric Association, APA) made a list of the most common symptoms of emotional discomfiture of children; those which bother teachers and parents most, and in a stroke that could not be more devoid of science or Hippocratic motive – termed them a ‘disease.’ Twenty five years of research, not deserving of the term ‘research,’ has failed to validate ADD/ADHD as a disease.”

To date, there has never been issued a single peer-reviewed scientific paper officially claiming to prove ADD/ADHD exists. Nor has there ever been a single bit of physical evidence to confirm the disease exists. So-called experts on the subject have refused to answer the simple question, “is ADD/ADHD a real disease?” Medical researchers charge that ADHD does not meet the medical definition of a disease or syndrome or anything organic or biologic.

One piece of speculation ADD “experts” cling to is MRI brain-scan research conducted by Dr. F. Xavier Castellanos of the National Institute of Health. According to his research, suspected ADD/ADHD victims show a consistent but moderate shrinkage in three key parts of the brain, thus causing the erratic behavior and consequently proving the existence of ADD/ADHD. Castellanos’ research has been grabbed up by ADD experts in conferences and in written studies for several years. Others have used similar tests with matching results. Desperate to grab hold of any shred of evidence which could back up the official ADD position, psychologists and policy makers used Castellanos’ findings to establish medication and therapy treatment for suspected ADD/ADHD patients. Consequently, the “epidemic” of ADD/ADHD has grown from 500,000 cases in 1985 to almost 7,000,000 in 1999. In most cases Ritalin is prescribed to control the disorder.

There is only one problem with the conclusions found in Dr. Castellanos’ findings. At least 93% of the children used in his research had been on long-term stimulant therapy, usually Ritalin. Likewise, the other tests also used long-term Ritalin-treated patients. According to Dr. Baughman, what the tests proved again and again was that Ritalin was causing the brains to shrink – not ADD.

In truth, no one in the medical profession or in government regulatory agencies will stick their necks out and pronounce ADD/ADHD as a real disease. To the contrary, in a series of letters to Dr. Baughman they have said the exact opposite. In 1994, Paul Leber of the Food and Drug Administration said, “As yet no distinctive pathophysiology for the disorder has been delineated.” In 1995, Gene R. Haislip of the Drug Enforcement Administration said, “We are also unaware that ADHD has been validated as a biologic/organic syndrome or disease.” In 1998, James M. Swanson of the University of California, and leading ADD advocate, said in conference, “I would like to have an objective diagnosis for the disorder (ADHD). Right now psychiatric diagnosis is completely subjective.” And even Dr. Castellanos, in spite of his extensive research, said in 1998, “I agree that we have not yet met the burden of demonstrating the specific pathophysiology that we believe underlies this condition.”

In spite of the lack of evidence for the existence of ADD/ADHD, its advocates continue to march forward, helter-skelter, issuing prescriptions for drugs like Ritalin with little concern for the long-term consequences it may bring to the patients. Russell Barkley sees Ritalin as the medical triumph of the century. Barkely boldly states, “…once convinced of an ADHD diagnosis, there’s no compelling reason to avoid Ritalin.” As Dr. Baughman explains, “Their ‘diseases’ are theories in perpetuity. As long they believe and as long as the drugs are prescribed, that’s all that matters.”


When things don’t seem to make sense, it’s been advised many times to “follow the money.” That would be sage advise in the search for the truth about ADD. There is lots of money worth following.

Since ADD was invented by the APA, psychiatric hospitalizations to private hospitals have tripled. Admissions of children and adolescents to private psychiatric hospitals jumped from 16,735 in 1980 to 42,502 in 1986. Irving Phillips, MD and professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco says, “Patients are hospitalized for periods consistent with their insurance coverage and discharged with diagnoses that question whether hospitalization is appropriate.”

Insurance healthcare fraud is a $60 to $80 billion a year business. And the psychology industry has been very creative in finding ways to cash in. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg when seeking to calculate the massive ADD/ADHD-related profits flowing into the coffers of the industry.

The greatest source of new growth for the psychiatric industry is the schools. As education restructuring grew into a full-blown behavior-modification assault designed to change the attitudes, values and beliefs of the children, a key element to the process was to turn healthy children into “patients.” By diagnosing a child to have a mental disorder like ADD/ADHD the school could gain federal funds. It’s a growth industry.

In 1965, the passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), education changed education forever as the seeds for today’s massive restructuring -away from academics to behavior modification – began. It was psychology’s crowning moment. The ESEA allocated massive federal funds and opened school doors to a flood of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers and the psychiatric programs and testing needed to validate them. The number of educational psychologists in the U.S. increased from 455 in 1969 to 16,146 in 1992. As of 1994, child psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors and special educators in and around U.S. public schools nearly out-number teachers.

In 1991, eligibility rules for federal education grants were changed to provide schools with $400 in annual grant money for each child diagnosed with ADHD. That same year the Department of Education formally recognized ADHD as a handicap and directed all state education officers to establish procedures to screen and identify ADHD children and provide them with special education and psychological services. As a result, the number of ADD/ADHD cases soared again.

Today more than 7,000,000 children have been labeled, stamped and registered as permanent patients of the school system. 10 to 12 percent of all boys between the ages of 6 and 14 in the United States have been diagnosed as having ADD. One in every 30 Americans between the ages of 5 and 19 years old has a prescription to Ritalin. Psychologists have never had it so good. The federal trough has been very good for their industry.

With more than half of those 7,000,000 children also prescribed Ritalin, the stock-market value of its manufacturer, the Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis, has also soared. Now that company and others are working to introduce a host of new drugs into the classroom, including Prozac and Luvox, which has just been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for pediatric use. Now the industry is looking to even greater growth as pre-school toddlers are being targeted by the pill brigade. The use of psychotropic drugs, like anti-depressants and stimulants, in 2-to-4-year olds doubled or even tripled between 1991 and 1995. The federal trough has been very good to the pharmaceutical industry, as well.


The federal trough has been good for the education industry, too. Schools are awash with federal funds to build in-school clinics where children will be analyzed, diagnosed and treated for whatever disease they care to make the flavor of the day. It’s in the schools where the system will make sure the children are properly cared for, out of sight and questions of the parents.

Beyond the available funding, there is also a side-bonus for the schools. If a child has a learning disorder, the schools can’t be held responsible for the fact that the student can’t learn. Bad teachers, failed curriculum and federal programs can’t be blamed for the failure of the student to learn. They’ve created an efficient system to protect themselves. It works like this: If a child has trouble with math, he is deemed to have a mental disorder under code number 315.1 – “Mathematics Disorder;” If the child can’t write literature composition she must be suffering from code 315.2 – “Disorder of Written Expression;” If the student can’t read then he is obviously suffering from code 315 – “Reading Disorder.” As stated, the whole industry is well protected – and well paid.

So the schools join in full cooperation with the psychologists to label millions of children with learning disorders. Teachers, with no medical credentials, serve as the unofficial recruiter and perform “pop-psychology” in the classroom to decide what children might have ADD.

Johnny is in the fifth grade, but only reads at a first grade level. Not the school’s fault. Johnny must be “dyslexic” or could have ADD. The teacher now becomes a brain diagnostician who decides who will be tested and who will be referred for special education or who is uneducable without Ritalin. The teacher reports these “findings” to the school administration and the wheels of control begin to turn against the child and the parental control.

Woe be the child or parents who dare resist. The “team” now convenes – all for the good of the child, of course. The weight of consensus is brought to bear. Woe be the doctor who doesn’t agree with the findings. One who does will be found. Once treatment has been decided, the drugs are issued and the team is increased to include in-home social workers and the in-school clinics. The child is now community property. Now you know the true meaning of the term “it takes a village,” and the process to make it so.


Psychologists will lie to you. They will tell you that Ritalin is not addictive. It is. It affects the mind. It affects the body. It can cause depression. The reaction to Ritalin by the brain is exactly the same as that of cocaine, except cocaine is shorter acting. It changes the child. Research is showing that Ritalin use is a common factor among many of the students who have walked into their schools and opened fire, indicating that Ritalin brings children to violence.

Children are dying from Ritalin use. According to Ritalin critic, Dr. Baughman, of 2,993 adverse reaction reports (AR) concerning Ritalin listed by the FDA from 1990 to 1997, there were 160 deaths and 569 hospitalizations, 36 of them life-threatening. Ritalin is known to cause cardiac arrhythmia, tachycardia and hypertension. Research has proven that Ritalin and other amphetamines can interfere with body phospholipid chemistry (complex fat), causing the accumulation of abnormal membranes visible with an electronic microscope.

Ritalin is early training to introduce children to drug abuse. Today, Ritalin is fast becoming the drug of choice by college students who were brought up on it. Reports from college campuses across the nation indicate that Ritalin use has become as popular as Coca Cola and coffee as a study aid.

A black market for obtaining Ritalin without a prescription has developed on some campuses. “People will pay $5 or $6 for one pill,” says a sophomore at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. To increase its potency, some students have started to crush Ritalin and sniff it like cocaine. After the “buzz” wears off, students report side effects of melancholy, lethargy, dry mouth, loss of appetite and inability to sleep.

Some parents report that, in the beginning Ritalin, seems to help children focus and begin to learn. But there is evidence that, over time, the drug builds up in the system causing depression and violent mood swings. In many cases, after being on the drug for several years children actually forget how to live without it. If taken off the drug they have reported feeling lost, frightened, even paranoid. This can lead the child to eventually experimenting with illegal drugs in an attempt to “feel normal” again. Research has shown that children on Ritalin are three times more likely to develop a taste for cocaine. So as the psychologists continue to invade the classrooms in ever increasing numbers, ask yourself why the drug culture is growing by ever-larger numbers through ever- younger children.


If ADD/ADHD is not a real disease, then why the sudden epidemic of students unable to learn and unable to control themselves? What’s wrong with the children? A lot of parents don’t really want to know the answers to these questions. A disease or disorder is so much easier to accept.

Dr. Lawrence Diller, Author of “Running on Ritalin” puts the problem in perspective when he says, “Settling for Ritalin says we prefer to locate our children’s problems in their brains rather than in their lives.”

Consider how many modern families live. Both parents must work to maintain the lifestyle in the suburbs. That usually means that the whole family is up before dawn, dressed and fed. The children are dropped off at day care or school and the parents may then commute for as many as two hours each way to work. In the afternoon, children may leave school only to head to after-school day care to be picked up after dark by one harried parent. The family may then reassemble at home or meet in a restaurant for dinner. Once home, the tired children may attempt to do some homework. Soon the entire family will fall into bed for an exhausted sleep only to do it all again the next morning.

Where is the “quality time” needed by each child? Where is the opportunity for the child to just curl up in mommy’s comforting lap to find security? Everything must be organized, scheduled, rushed. Children feel the loss, and they take action for attention. They misbehave, they cry, they become defiant, aggressive. The parents seek answers and relief to the family turmoil.

The school, which is also experiencing the child’s defiance and aggression, seeks relief. Enter the school psychologist who provides the convenient answer. The child is ADD. Short term relief can come from a wonder drug called Ritalin. As a result, the real root of the behavior problems are suppressed and hidden as the child enters a drug- induced stupor. He seems to calm down, perhaps his grades even improve for a while and the problem seems to be solved.

There is more feeding the problem. School restructuring has centered around an assault on student values. Students are told in many classrooms that there is no right or wrong. Students, we are told, should not be told what to do. They should be allowed to experiment and “find themselves” on their own.

Hillary Clinton wrote in her book “It Takes a Village,” that corrective discipline isn’t encouraged at all, In fact, if a parent has to tell a child no, then the parent has already failed as a parent. According to Hillary, a child’s ability to self-check comes naturally, when not undermined by critical, controlling parents. “If (kids) have supportive and caring adults around them, they pick up the social clues that enable them to develop self-discipline and empathy.” In other words, Hillary Clinton is telling parents that children will basically raise themselves, with a little guidance from “the village.”

Parents, near desperation, believing what they are told about the “modern” way to raise a child, refuse to interfere with their growth. Spanking is now termed child abuse and parents can even be arrested if someone in the village decides to be a “hero” and turn in their neighbors.

What’s wrong with the children? Basically the children have started to show signs of insanity because the system raising them is nuts.$

For more information on Ritalin and ADD/ADHDvisit the web site of Dr. Fred A. Baughman, http://home.att.net/~Fred-Alden/ or contact Citizens Commission on Human Rights, (800)869-2247.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is President of the American Policy Center and National Grassroots Coordinator for CFACT (Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow) working to help local activists organize into Freedom Pods (www.CFACT.org). He is also the author of three books, including Now Tell Me I Was Wrong, ERASE, and Sustainable: the WAR on Free Enterprise, Private Property, and Individuals.