Children who take mind-altering medications like Ritalin (methylphenidate) and Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have been shown in a new peer-reviewed study to perform worse in school than if they weren’t taking the substances at all.
Researchers from Princeton University, Cornell University and the University of Toronto found that the administration of these drugs to children, which is supposedly to help them remain calm and focus in class, actually leaves students at a deficit when it comes to paying attention and learning in a formal academic setting.
These shocking findings, which were published recently in the Journal of Health Economics, reveal that increasing the use of stimulants isn’t helping children any more than loading them up with anti-psychotic medications helps them think more rationally. Once again, pharmaceutical drugs are shown to harm the normal thought process and inhibit natural human cognition.
Back in 1997, some rules changed in the Canadian province of Quebec that made it easier for people to access prescription drugs. In the 10 years following this change, the number of children taking stimulants in Quebec more than doubled, with an astounding 44 percent of Canada’s ADHD prescriptions now going to the province.
This massive increase made for an easier time studying the outcomes of ADHD drugs in children, the results of which are sure to surprise many parents. Based on the researchers’ work, children on ADHD drugs fared slightly worse than other children and were far more likely not to finish school without having to first repeat a grade, suggesting added learning impairment.
“We find little evidence of improvement in either the medium or the long run” from the use of ADHD drugs in children, wrote the authors. “Our results… suggest that expanding medication in a community setting had little positive benefit and may have had harmful effects given the average way these drugs are used in the community.”
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