Parents accused of exam drug use

By Lunar Loops · May 30, 2007 · ·
  1. Lunar Loops
    This from BBC News website:

    Parents accused of exam drug use

    Parents are giving their children internet-bought "smart drugs" to boost their performance in the exam room, a psychologist has claimed.

    Anti-hyperactivity medicines like Ritalin are being used as a "study aid", says Leicester University's director of education Paul Cooper.
    The drug is given to hyperactive children to improve concentration. But Professor Cooper says taking it without medical supervision is unwise and can be dangerous.

    He said: "We are moving into a phase now where informed parents can by-pass the medical profession, go online and prescribe the drug themselves.
    "I have anecdotal evidence that a number of parents in this country have done this. I know of three parents who have done it in one state secondary school.
    "That's just one school and it is likely to be replicated on a massive scale," he added.
    Prof Cooper said the parents doing this probably thought their children had mild, but undiagnosed, ADHD and that drugs like Ritalin might buy them much needed extra time in the examination room.
    A child with the mildest form of the disorder was likely to find it difficult to concentrate for the length of time it took to write an essay in an exam setting, he said.
    People with the condition have a poor attention span and tend to be impulsive and restless, yet the underlying cause is still poorly understood.

    Health risks
    Drugs like Ritalin would help 80% of people regardless of whether they had the disorder or not, he said.
    But there were health risks to taking any drug in an unsupervised way.
    "My big concern is the regulatory aspect and the fact that nobody should be buying this kind of drug over the internet and they should not be taking it without medical supervision," Prof Cooper added.
    "Even though Ritalin is considered to be a relatively safe medication it still has to be prescribed properly.
    "It could improve performance, but people will respond differently. If a person has a history of seizures for example - they should not be prescribed this drug.
    "In our culture, educational attainment is valued so highly. People sell their houses to get near a school or lie about where they live to get a child into a school.
    "It's a distorted value in our culture. So anything a parent can do to get some kind of educational advantage - they will do it." Prof Cooper says he would like to see further research into the scale of the problem.

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Comments

  1. Rio Fantastic
    It doesn't surprise Swim if he's honest, some parents are absolutely desperate to have there children perform well in school. But with the way children are being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD left and right, it surprises Swim that they have to go on the internet.
  2. trptamene
    Me thinks parents do this because drugs like ritaline and adderall are already over prescribed. They take their children to the doctor and the kids act like, well children! And they think it is a disorder. If these drugs were only prescribed to kids who needed them, the majority of parents would probably never get the idea to self medicate their children on these stimulants. Some kids are more hyper than others, that is just the way it is, there is nothing wrong with them. They may simply not want to do something, but this should not be confused with inability.

    This is simply my opinion, and I am aware that I am not a professional and don't have the data to back it up.
  3. snapper
    It is a symptom of a society where it is easier to get one's children loaded then practice proper parenting. Every problem has to have a quick fix - god forbid it required any effort or time...
    SWIM will acknowledge that there are some who truely have attention deficit disorders who need this stuff to function. But how many have it from being left alone in front of a TV while growing up, or in daycare all week long? This is sometimes necessary, but it certainly leads to wiring the brain differently during a crucial period of neurological development.
    Guess better a pill than nothing at all... attention is a learned skill requiring a lot of mental stimulation and interaction with parents, and can be compromised when such attention is not provided.
  4. Rio Fantastic
    I agree with the above poster...Ritalin is being used as a pill to cure bad parenting. There is still controversy over wether ADD/ADHD actually exists, and bearing this in mind it is clear that Amphetamines are being over-prescribed.
  5. stoneinfocus
    Well there´s hardly any school, where someone like swim could jump from the gym to the next desk to learn more in 30 min, than he did in a half year, trying to sit still and concentrate to a moron, that didn´t seem to understand himself, what he´s teaching and was doing so about 3-4x too slow.
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