The war on drugs is the war on our children: Reporter's Notebook

The conversation is all about the Florida shooting these days and how to prevent another horror. And because massacres repaint our broken hearts and spur us into protection mode, someone or something needs to be strung up and hung for it. Mainstream media has been perpetuating gun control in the bought-and-paid-for narrative of “standing by the students.” With so many of our rights as Americans now gone, I’m suspicious that this whole gun control idea is taking us far, far away from what’s really going on. Why is it every day we lose another fundamental right in this country?
The latest National Center for Health Statistics report said that 7.5 percent of U.S. children between ages 6 and 17 take the psychotropic drugs for emotional or behavioral difficulties. That statistic is from 2011, so the number must be up, as the trend to over-medicate has gone up drastically since the 90s. 
Black box warnings for these drugs read like premonitions for future school shooters: antidepressants like Prozac can induce suicidal behavior. ADD/ADHD drugs like Ritalin can cause such adverse effects as “new psychotic or manic symptoms” such as hallucinations, delusional thinking or mania, as well as aggressive behavior and hostility. Most anti-seizure meds have the same black box warnings as the psychotropic drugs. One of them, “Keppra” the epilepsy drug of choice at Stanford Children’s Hospital, has an associated side effect nicknamed, “Keppra rage” and it seems like every other kid on the block is on Adderall (side effect: psychosis, including paranoia). 
American children are falling prey to the pharm-machine. Trading seizures for rage, depression for suicidal thoughts, and attention challenges for aggression, we now have new generations of children who are there, but not really. They used to be kids, and now they are shells of themselves, abducted by the pharmaceutical engine that funds our economics by keeping us all sick, and making us worse, including our children. 
Why isn’t anyone talking about the fact that most of the young school shooters (36 of them according to CCHR International and 100 of them according to were under the influence of psychiatric drugs? Has anyone else noticed that a good chunk of every classroom has kids on heavy duty meds? 
I first noticed it when working as a sleepaway summer camp counselor in my 90s college days. I would get a meds list for my week’s children, ages 8 to 10. Week after week the same pattern arose: four to five of the seven children on the list were on medications like Ritalin for ADD. 
It was then I started to think. What is going on here? What’s happening to the children? And since, as a teacher, the same long list of meds has shown up in my classrooms, and with the list, the same type of wild, sociopathic energy came with it. 
Look into the eyes of a child on a psychotropic drug and you have an empty abyss. Where did the child go? I know by experience even the best parents cannot control this kidnapping of their once sweet child. They have their moments. One minute hugging and chatting. The next minute stabbing their own hand with a pencil, or worse, a fellow student. How can a classroom function when a quarter of the children don’t respond to reason, positive discipline and love? I would like to know how many children are sitting alone at lunchtime. And who is checking on the child who keeps getting suspended? How many of the educators and parents know what to do with them? I bet you they are as baffled as anyone else.
How many parents and teachers have ever thought, ‘oh my God, this kid is going to be the next school shooter.’ Yet Everyone’s too busy to fix the problem child. They blame guns. 
But I blame a system that allows medications to hijack our children’s spirits and those who leave them to commit terrible, preventable massacres.  
One thing is for sure. Any person on antidepressants or stimulants shouldn’t be able to access a gun. I would even lock up the scissors. Background checks — of course. But the answer is to not overmedicate them. But if you must, know them. Every community member needs to be in on this. Children on psychotropic drugs should not be left alone to their own devices. They should not be left alone, period. 
We need more connection to our children and their friends. And if they have no friends, why? It’s time everyone started caring about other people’s children, and not just their own. It takes a village people. This is no time to check out. Know every kid in your life like you know that person in the mirror. 


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