April 13, 1998


There are two sides to the Ritalin controversy

  In response to recent information about Ritalin, I have a child that takes Ritalin on a daily basis. That decision was not taken lightly by us or our physician. For years we attended therapy, attempted diet changes and followed many other non-medication approaches to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, (ADHD). None of them were effective.
   Before the decision was made to prescribe Ritalin, our physician set up a double blind study. In other words, some days our son got a placebo and other days Ritalin. His teachers and parents kept a daily chart on his focus and behavior in class and at home. The doctor was then able to clearly chart the positive impact of Ritalin for our child and we agreed Ritalin was the best course of action. Anyone who dealt with our son before and after he began taking Ritalin would attest to the fact that it has had nothing but a positive impact on his life. Today, as a teenager, he would wholeheartedly agree with that assessment.
   For children or adults with Attentiaon Deficit Disorder, (ADD), Ritalin or one of the other medications used to treat ADD, can make it possible for them to function in school and at work. The decision should not be made lightly or without consideration of other options. I object to the depiction of Ritalin as being "in the same drug category as cocaine, morphine, and opium." This has an unfortunate impact upon kids that are struggling to cope with ADHD and ADD.
   Name withheld to protect the writer's son