Wind them up, wind them down

ABC’s “news” show, 20/20, will be airing a segment tonight at 10pm on kids using medical marijuana to treat OCD and ADHD.   I haven’t seen the trailer, so I’m interested to see how the show’s producers will segue from the anecdotal tales of successful treatment to the same old warnings about marijuana being a gateway drug.

In my last post on college students smoking away their time in college, I briefly addressed the far-more-troubling problems associated with abuse and overuse of truly harmful substances like alcohol, ecstasy, cocaine, but I neglected to mention the most recent of the college-related drugs – the prescribed amphetamines like adderall and ritalin, used to “treat” all of those newly diagnosed attention-deficit problems.   Break up your pills and snort them before all-night study sessions, trade them with your friends, then restock from your most reliable dealer you’ll ever know – Mom and Dad and the family doctor.

As safe as jumping on a trampoline with scissors!

Having been a student before the onset of this new cultural craze, I was constantly shocked by the number of students who would approach me on the first day of class with their medical documentation, identifying themselves as part of that new class of students allowed to take more time on tests, while – in all likelihood – medicated to the gills by parents determined to fix their tragically broken children.

How on earth have we come to believe that a “normal” 18 year-old should be happy to sit in one place for an hour-long class, listening to someone twice their age talk about abstract concepts?  The problem is not just that we’ve been convinced to see that sort of unnatural behavior as normal, but that we’ve become convinced that anyone incapable of that sort of “normal” behavior needs to be treated into submission.  Given the widespread denial of evolution that’s taken place in this country over the past few decades, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the wholesale embrace of such an odd practice.   I’ll admit that the zombie kids hopped up on adderall perform better in the class than the stoner kids who are only marginally present, but they’re way more off-putting to deal with.  And that’s a drug habit that really is a habit, one that has the full support of the medical profession, the pharmaceutical industry, the schools and the family.

Check out this sad blog on living the ADHD drug lifestyle and tell me that any rational parent wouldn’t rather have their kids smoking a little weed.  At least stoners can still feel happy.


4 Responses to “Wind them up, wind them down”

  1. July 24, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I watched the 20/20 special last night and thought it was pretty good.I didn’t hear any talk of the “demon weed” being a gateway to anything.

    I came away with the impression that more average Americans are turning to pot for medical reasons.

    • July 24, 2010 at 12:13 pm

      I was pleasantly surprised. Add to that the surprising VA decision on allowing (though not prescribing or providing) medical marijuana. I just might have to find something to do with all my free floating cynicism.

  2. July 24, 2010 at 8:16 am

    I was a student teacher in an overburded classroom of 36 kids–7 of whom were on drugs for ADHD. I hated that the teacher (absolutely the best I’ve ever seen) didn’t have time to give the extra attention/time that would have allowed most of these kids to fall back inside the normal range. Instead they were forced to sit still and listen for looooong hours when they should have been learning standing up and moving around. Only 1 fell in my definition of needing medication. I hated seeing these dulled out children. It made me sick and sad.

    • July 28, 2010 at 12:38 pm

      I saw the same thing in my college-aged students, and it made me sad, too. Ennui may be the natural state for some young adults, but at least the feeling of boredom produces some emotional reaction in the undrugged. I’m practically haunted by a conversation I had with one student describing her state of mind while taking her meds – no happiness, no sadness, no horniness, no frustration, no excitement. She claimed to be bothered by the fact that she couldn’t relate to the experiences of her friends, because she just didn’t feel much of anything, so I guess that’s something. Not enough to stop taking the pills, though – she claimed she couldn’t focus on classwork well enough without them. At least if she were feeling that from taking too much ecstasy she’d have earned the consequences all on her own, but that fact that the decision had been made for her years earlier just made it that much sadder. Given the choice between poor performance in the classroom and the ability to feel things versus good grades and robot-like insularity, I just don’t see why any parent would choose the latter for their children.

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