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Education Reporter

Child Medication Bill Passes House
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The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 1790, the Child Medication Safety Act (CMSA) of 2005 by a 407-12 vote on November 16. The CMSA would prohibit school personnel from requiring parents to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances in order for children to attend school "under any program or activity administered by the Secretary of Education."

Funding for schools would be contingent upon compliance. Section 4 also calls for the General Accounting Office to conduct a review of what medications are used to treat children in public schools.

The lead sponsor of H.R. 1790, Congressman John Kline (R-MN), speaking in support of the bill, said that as more children are diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and treated with medication, such as Ritalin or Adderall, the drugs "have the potential for serious harm and abuse, especially for children who do not need the medications. . . . in some instances, school personnel freely offer diagnoses for ADD and ADHD disorders and urge parents to obtain drug treatment for their child. Parents should never be forced to medicate their child against their will and better judgment in order to ensure their child will receive educational services."

Psychiatrist Dr. Peter Breggin, founder of the Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, and author of Talking Back to Ritalin, stated in a PBS interview on May 3, 2000: "I believe that there is no scientific reason or justification for giving psychoactive agents to children."

Dr. Breggin has helped many children withdraw from medication, including Paul Johnston, who experienced drug-induced psychosis and institutionalization. See Education Reporter of June, 2002 article, "A Parent's Nightmare: Losing a Child to Drug-Induced Psychosis."

Dr. Karen R. Effrem, a pediatrician, board member of both Ed Watch and the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP), and advisory council member of ICSPP, has testified about the subjectivity of diagnosing ADD, ADHD, and other mental illnesses; the extremely dangerous side effects; and lack of research involving young children and the implications for their nervous systems, with the use of psychotropic medications.

In her testimony before the House of Representatives in 2003, Dr. Effrem cited numerous cases of severe problems with medications, safety issues, and parents who were coerced and threatened with charges of educational neglect and child abuse if they didn't comply.

In the last Congress, the CMSA was passed by the House, but stalled in the Senate through lack of action in the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, primarily due to the efforts of Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA). On November 17, the CMSA was read in the Senate and referred to the HELP Committee. Senators on the Committee are listed at http://help.senate.gov/committee_members.html

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