Parents against Ritalin

More and more parents are becoming aware of the deadly side effects due to Ritalin use. These parents who once trusted their children's schools and health care providers are now viewing them in a different light. Many were forced into drugging their children with Ritalin against their better judgment. These parents were told that disregarding the schools recommendation to drug their children would result in social services and charges of neglect. Bellow are stories of parents who have lost their children because of Ritalin.

If you saw CBS' Hard Copy, June 24, 1998, you saw Stephanie Hall. You learned that Stephanie, like millions of other children in the US, had attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder-ADHD (sometimes referred to as ADD or attention deficit disorder)--and was on Ritalin. You saw a picture of Stephanie--a lovely, healthy, normal girl. Next, in what was a brief segment that hardly told her story, you saw Stephanie's gravestone. Born January 11, 1984. Died January 5, 1996. Her parents, Michael and Janet, were shown at the grave "where (they) visit 'Steph' now." Her younger sister, Jennie, had ADHD too, and was on Ritalin. But she stopped Ritalin the day 'Steph' died and the whole family stopped believing in ADHD.

On March 21, 2000, Matthew Smith, 14, died from a heart attack while skateboarding. The coroner determined his death was caused by the long-term use of the stimulant forcibly prescribed to him through the school.

"It all started for Matthew in the first grade, when the school social worker kept calling us in for meetings, complaining that Matthew was 'fidgeting' and 'easily distracted,' said Smith. "She told my wife and I that if we wouldn't consider drugging our son, after the school had diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), that we could be charged for neglecting his educational and emotional needs." After also being told that the stimulant was safe and effective, the Smiths acceded to the pressure.

"If we hadn't been pressured by the school system, Matthew would still be alive today," says Smith. "I cannot go back and change things for us at this point. However, I hope to God my story and information will reach the hearts and minds of many families, so they can make an educated decision."
Mrs. Dunkle agrees. In 1999 when her daughter, Shaina, was in second grade, Mrs. Dunkle was pressured to have her evaluated for ADHD by the school psychologist because she was "too active" and "talked out of turn." The young mother did not want to drug her child, but bowed to the constant pressure from the psychologist and agreed to take her daughter to a psychiatrist. After a 30-minute evaluation, Shaina was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed a psychiatric drug. Mrs. Dunkle was never warned about the side effects of the drugs.

On Feb. 26, 2001, Shaina began convulsing in her doctor's office and died in her mother's arms. She was 10-years-old. An autopsy revealed that Shaina's death was due to toxic levels of the psychiatric drug prescribed her. Mrs. Dunkle has now filed a suit against the treating psychiatrist, alleging the doctor increased her daughter's drug dose until it reached toxic levels. "My Shaina was a ray of sunshine; she always smiled and gave her all no matter how hard. If I had followed my heart instead of the advice of 'professionals' that thought they knew my daughter better than I did, my precious Shaina would be alive now," says Mrs. Dunkle.

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