March 20, 2000
ICSPP Calls for Moratorium on Psychiatric Medicating of Young Children
The call for a moratorium is made in response to Hillary Clinton’s efforts to allay public concerns about the drugging of children age two to four years old.
The White House announced concern today about the psychiatric drugging of young children with stimulants such as Ritalin and antidepressants such as Prozac.The White House was reacting to an overwhelming negative public response to recent revelations in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the escalation in drugging children ages two to four years old.
Psychiatrist Peter R. Breggin, M.D., director of the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, has been the leading voice among professionals who feel that too many of America’s children are exposed to psychiatric drugs. In his book, Reclaiming Our Children
, and in dozens of public and professional appearances in the last few weeks, Dr. Breggin has called for a change in national policy away from psychiatric medication for children. He said, “Instead of impairing the brains of children with drugs, we must identify the individual psychological, social, and educational needs of our children while also making the necessary reforms in our families, schools, and communities.”
While encouraged by the White House response, Dr. Breggin is concerned about the underlying theme of the need for “more research” on medicating children. He said, “What’s needed is not more research on drugging young children — what’s needed is a moratorium on the psychiatric medicating of children under age six, and a reconsideration of the dangers for older children as well.”
Dr. Breggin described Hillary Clinton’s efforts as “political damage control.” Mrs. Clinton and Tipper Gore gave a huge boost to the psychiatric drugging of children at the White House Conference on Mental Health in June of 1999. Even now Mrs. Clinton has not criticized the widescale psychiatric medicating of children but has instead called for concern about medicating the very young. We know enough from animal research and clinical studies to make it scientifically unsound to experiment with psychoactive agents on small children. Dr. Breggin documents the known dangers of these drugs in Talking Back to Ritalin
(1998) and Reclaiming Our Children
(2000) as well as in peer-reviewed scientific articles
. For more on the White House Conference of June 1999, see Reclaiming Our Children
, Chapter 2.