Who On Earth Would Give Mind-Blowing Drugs To A Toddler? A Criminal–Or A Doctor
It used to be that, when you were a little kid and you got dragged to the doctor, you at least knew you would walk out of there with a lollipop. No matter how horrible the rest of the experience was, at least you had that going for you.
Nowadays it seems toddlers are just as likely to leave an exam room with a shiny new prescription for anti-psychotics or psychotropic drugs.
A recent New York Times report showed that this year alone, 20,000 US children younger than two years old were given prescriptions for risperidone, a powerful drug used to treat schozophrenia and bipolar disorder in adults. Another 83,000 prescriptions were written for children of the same age group for Prozac.
As infuriating as it is to read that these tiny children–children so young they may or may not even be using words yet, and who are almost certainly still in diapers–are being given these mind-altering, powerful drugs, it is even more infuriating to hear the justifications for such irresponsible practices.
Reportedly the drugs were being used to treat withdrawn or violent behavior–which is convenient given the fact that ample evidence exists to suggest that these exact drugs are widely thought to cause that exact type of behavior.
What’s especially maddening is when you realize that the use of these drugs on children this young is completely untested–because the FDA deems the drugs too dangerous to give to children that young for the purposes of clinical trials.
“There’s a sense of desperation with families of children who are suffering, and the tool that most providers have is the prescription pad,” said one doctor who was quoted in the article.
Never mind the fact that these drugs are known to be highly addictive and mind-altering. Never mind the fact that we don’t really know what effects in the long or short term they might have on tiny, developing minds.
The story dovetails nicely with another recent report that showed that upwards of one-third of seniors who spent more than 100 days in a nursing home were given anti-psychotics via Medicare’s prescription program.
Talk about captive audience.
It seems like the prescription pad-happy cowboys of modern western medicine won’t be satisfied until we’re all drooling on ourselves and stumbling from pill bottle to pill bottle to get our fix.
It’s imperative that we use our heads when consulting with doctors. For one thing, always ask about alternatives. Often simply being presented with a course of action–any course of action–will cause people suffering from some illness or condition to grasp at whatever that first answer is as though it were the only solution, let alone the best.
We must educate ourselves to wean ourselves off the prescription merry-go-round. It’s up to us to change the system, because the system likes thing just the way they are!