Sunday, March 02, 2008

RITALIN, KID CRIME LINKED

Kids who take Ritalin for a long time may be more likely to turn into punks on dope. According to this Daily Telegraph report:
An American study -- published in the Medical Observer -- has found that while drugs such as Ritalin can initially help sufferers, the benefit of prolonged use is in doubt. Some children stay on medication until they reach 18, but researchers believe it may not protect them from all the symptoms.

The US Multimodal Treatment Study of Children revealed the more days of prescribed medication, the more serious delinquency became.

In a cohort of 500 children with ADHD -- followed for 36 months until they were 12 -- researchers found 27 per cent were at a greater risk of committing crime, compared with 7 per cent among "normative" children. Substance use also increased to 17 per cent in ADHD children -- almost double the normal rate.
More substance abuse among kids who've been told they must take drugs to feel better. Couldn't see that one coming.

10 comments:

Busplunge said...

Just about the only thing that could make this story more unnerving would be if these kids were spanked for their behavior.

Cowboy Yoda said...

Issue Number 1 of 417, that was.
Humble of you not to note that.

thinkingthings said...

Basic Statistics 101: Correlation does not imply causation. This study is interesting, and certainly is cause for (ongoing) serious consideration of the implications of messing with a kid's brain chemistry, but it should not be taken out of context. Just think of all the reasons kids who take Ritalin may be at higher risk for committing crime--the medication is only one small part of that list. Without further information from the study, we don't know if they considered socio-economic status, how well the symptoms were abated with the medication, success in school, parenting styles or how the child was disciplined, if the child was told "this pill is to make you behave" (wish I had a buck for every time I heard a parent say that), if there are concomitant mental illnesses, history of sociopathic behavior in the immediate family, etc. By "blaming" the difference in criminal behavior between the groups solely on the presence of Ritalin and implying that this is a the only causal factor one might miss some important factors. The fact remains that no matter how interesting the findings, correlation does not mean causation.

Darin said...

Several years ago I read a study comparing Cocaine use - the Coke Swiss Cheese affect of prolonged use is similar to the amphetamines regularly recommended by our educators.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm. Swiss cheese, coke and ritalin. Sounds like lunch to me.

Anonymous said...

"More substance abuse among kids who've been told they must take drugs to feel better. "How about "More complications from high blood pressure among people who have been told to take medicine to lower blood pressure." This is equally surprising. Unfortunately people with mental and behavioral problems are held to a double standard.

thinkingthings said...

Actually a recent journal article indicates that ADHD meds do not apparently increase the risk of future substance abuse. Go here to see the summary.

It is probably a correlational study, too. But it is interesting research anyway.

Sky Girl said...

Just about to give the correlation does not equal causation speech, but Thinkingthings has that covered well.

Anonymous said...

Everyone wonders why drug companies are making a killing. From almost cradle to grave they've got you convinced that you have ADHD, HDD, RLS,or can't get a woody and all it takes to cure you is a damned pill.

Get off these vanity drugs. Let kids be kids and move on.

On second thought, now maybe I'm beginning to see the Liberal mind set. "I can't afford the medication I really don't need."

tom said...

As long as the federal government CONTROLS the way most people think you'll finds this will be the same until we become a completely socialist nation.