Phyllis Schlafly

A few years later, ADHD was classified as a disability and a federal cash incentive program was initiated for low-income families with children who are said to have ADHD. A family could get $450 a month for each child diagnosed with ADHD, with the cost of treatment and medication for low-income children covered by Medicaid.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, passed in 1990, mandates that "eligible children receive access to special education and related services." The school is required to craft an Individualized Education Plan to accommodate each child, which may include drugs prescribed by a medical doctor. The U.S. Department of Education classified ADHD as a handicap, and in 1991 schools began receiving education grants of $400 a year for each ADHD child. Since labeling kids ADHD brings more money to the schools, it's not surprising that schools often pressure parents to get an ADHD diagnosis and put their child on Ritalin. School have also found it useful to deal with behavioral and discipline problems by giving boys a drug to get them to sit down, shut up, and do what they're told.

The FDA reported on Feb. 8 that 25 people (including 19 children) died and 54 suffered serious cardiovascular problems after taking drugs prescribed to treat ADHD between 1999 and 2003. An FDA advisory panel finally voted in favor of requiring the famous "black box" warning on these drugs.

Instead of dealing with the overprescription of drug cocktails for children, our government is telling us we have a mental health crisis, and the remedy is universal mental health screening. A major government campaign is now under way, sweetened with federal grants, to subject all children to mental health screening.

The screening usually means having the child fill out a survey about his own behavior. If his answers don't comport with what the so-called experts want, the kid can be referred for treatment, and treatment usually includes medication.

It's up to parents to stop this unscientific, ineffective, and dangerous government intrusion into the minds and values of our children. State laws should require parental consent for all mental health screening, and Congress should pass the Child Medication Safety Act, to prohibit schools from denying entry to a child whose parents choose not to put him on drugs.

Phyllis Schlafly

Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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