In this health video you will learn whether we are giving our kids too many drugs.
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Raena Morgan: As a physician, you have a holistic, preventive approach to mental health. There was a study, recently in September 2008, in the Science Daily that said that American children were three times more likely to be medicated than children anywhere else in the world. Could you comment on that? Dr. Gary Kohls: Yeah. I believe it. I haven’t seen that article. I need to look at that, but totally believable. It’s probably even worse than that. I know that 90% of the Ritalin in the world is prescribed for American children. Raena Morgan: 90%. Dr. Gary Kohls: 90% of the world’s Ritalin use is Americans, which only represent 4 or 5% of the world’s population. Now that’s good marketing. That’s cunning. That’s not brilliant, that’s cunning. Raena Morgan: It’s unscrupulous? Dr. Gary Kohls: It’s unscrupulous. I would say unscrupulous, right. So, you know, we’re all brain washable, you know, we can be told something over and over and over again in a plausible fashion and we’ll believe it. So, we believe—we tend to believe what’s on television and what the advertising is and what the doctors tell us to do, etcetera. And we get this message that if you are a fidgety child, or a little inattentive, or you’re a daydreamer or bored with boring stuff in school, and you act out a little bit, then all of a sudden you get a label of ADHD. People should read The ADHD Fraud or Talking Back to Ritalin or Ritalin is not the Answer. That’s on my bibliography. Those books are on my bibliography and elsewhere. And find out that it’s a myth. It’s not really true. And so, not only are kids being misdiagnosed, they are also therefore being treated for something that— Raena Morgan: They really don’t have. Dr. Gary Kohls: That they don’t have. And the treatment of choice, quote unquote, is psychostimulants. It’s the drugs that are based on the amphetamine molecule Dexedrine. So, Adderall is four different kinds of kinds of Dexedrine. It’s amphetamine, you know. It’s an illegal drug, unless it’s written by a prescription by a physician and then it’s legal. But Adderall is amphetamine. Ritalin is an amphetamine-like drug that has a molecular structure very similar to cocaine. Raena Morgan: What I don’t understand is, these children are antsy and have too much energy and then you give them an amphetamine-type? Dr. Gary Kohls: Isn’t that interesting. Raena Morgan: How does that calm them down? Dr. Gary Kohls: Well, it doesn’t calm them all down, but it does focus. It causes focus. Raena Morgan: Okay. Dr. Gary Kohls: If you’ve ever taken amphetamine—I’ve never taken any or cocaine—but it focuses you. You are concentrating. You are less easily distractible. Raena Morgan: Okay. Dr. Gary Kohls: But it does have agitation effects and it causes them to lose their appetite. So, therefore the body shrinks, or actually stops growing—including the brain. It doesn’t stop growing and long term, there’s evidence kids, people on these drugs, actually have their brains shrink. So, they’re losing brain cells probably. So, it causes growth retardation when people are on amphetamine type drugs of any type—whether it’s methamphetamine, cocaine, Ritalin or Adderall. And then, of course, Concerta is just the same as Ritalin, except a different brand name. So, these are psychostimulants on the basis of the amphetamine molecule, which is—and they’re all schedule two drugs, which are the highest of most dangerous, most addicting drugs— Raena Morgan: Schedule two? Dr. Gary Kohls: Schedule two is the most addicting and most dangerous drugs that can be prescribed. So that morphine is in that and hydrocodone—OxyContin—is in the same category as Ritalin and Adderall. Raena Morgan: Why are we medicating our children like that? Because they can’t sit still? Dr. Gary Kohls: Simple. That’s a simplistic approach to something. And, of course, there’s reasons for kids being disruptive in a classroom, other than the mythical ADHD, they may be sleepless at home; they might be malnourishe