Thursday, January 03, 2008

First Person: Find drug-free solutions for youth

Last updated December 23, 2007 3:49 p.m. PT

First Person: Find drug-free solutions for youth


Robert A. Hawkins, 19, opened fire with a rife at a busy Omaha shopping mall, killing eight people before taking his own life. Looking back we had the tragedy at Virginia Tech caused by Cho Seung-Hui. And the first of this series of heartbreaking disasters was Columbine. What groups these events is not addressed widely. Sadly, these results of drugged youth are a deadly price to others.

In the Columbine incident great attention was paid in the media, without the real cause. That the students were on drugs was not widely shared. One survivor of Columbine, Mark Taylor, in his testimony before the FDA on Sept. 13, 2004, stated, "As Americans we should have the right to feel safe and if you were doing your job we would be safe. Why are we worrying about terrorists in other countries when the pharmaceutical companies have proven to be our biggest terrorists by releasing these drugs on an unsuspecting public?"

A publication of The New York Times called "Insight on the News" on June 28, 1999, had this lead story -- " Guns and Doses: The Common Link on the High School Shootings May Be Psychotropic Drugs Like Ritalin." One story is about David, who was compelled by school officials to receive the drug to handle his "hyperactivity." "David would complain. He didn't like the feel of his body when he took the pills," his mother said. Finally one day, her son collapsed before school and told her, "I just can't take them anymore, they're torturing me."

Another often-used drug is Prozac; the company was charged with, among other things, failing to disclose the dangers of Prozac in causing violence and suicide. Last year, Prozac earned $2 billion for Eli Lilly.

In Omaha the shooting reached beyond the schools, and the nine victims ranged in age from 24 to 66. The killer, Hawkins, had been a ward of the state. These children become prey for drugging, according to many administrators and spokespersons. Overdrugging of youth, including those in the foster care system, has grown into a huge national problem with no signs of slowing. Some of the drugs prescribed to children and teens are known to cause suicidal tendencies, yet they continue to be prescribed. Some children have reported they were given up to 18 different drugs at one time.

It is time to be more open to alternative choices. Antidepressant-induced manic behaviors like fire starting, violence and aberrant behavior are the result of looking for a quick fix while sustaining high profits for drug companies. Emotional growth stops when taking drugs. A pill does not assist in dealing with life. Let's support our youth in dealing with their problems utilizing effective, natural drug-free solutions.

Marilyn Redmond of Edgewood is a holistic health counselor.

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