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States Move to Limit Drug Therapy in Schools

Overuse of drugs like Ritalin and Prozac are a concern

A new state law in Connecticut is designed to combat what some say is an overuse of Ritalin and other behavior-modifying drugs in schools.

According to a wire service story in The Detroit News, the first-of-its-kind law prohibits teachers, counselors and other school officials from recommending psychiatric drugs. School officials can recommend that a student be evaluated by a medical doctor, but it would be up to the doctor to decide whether drug therapy is appropriate.

The chief sponsor of the law, state Rep. Lenny Winkler, is an emergency room nurse who says she's stunned by the number of children taking Prozac, Thorazine, Haldol and other psychiatric drugs. Last year, there were about 20 million prescriptions written for drugs to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, the article says. Most of those prescriptions were given to boys under the age of 12. At some elementary and middle schools, as many as six percent of all students take some sort of psychiatric drug.

The school boards for Colorado and Texas have taken steps similar to Connecticut's, and almost a dozen states have proposed comparable legislation.

To learn more about ADD, visit Living With ADD. To find out more about the pros and cons of Ritalin, you can read this article from the Decatur (Illinois) Herald & Review.

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