I was in shock, as you likely were, when you heard about the Sandy Hook school shooting that took place on Friday. Ugh! Another one, and this time—twenty of the twenty-six victims were young children. They, along with the shooter’s mother, were shot by what seemed to be a very mentally disturbed young man.
Herein lies the topic of my blog today.
My friend and learning expert Pat Wyman reminds us, “virtually all of those who responsible in the last two decades for mass shootings in the U.S. were taking some form of medication. For some it was Ritalin, for some it was anti-depressants, for others anti-psychotics and for several it was a combination of many drugs.”
“What could cause that kind of rage? Could this school shooting be a side effect of medication? Police say 20-year old Adam Lanza committed the crime and so far, there are indicators he had personality disorders. These are the very type that lead to taking controlled substance medication. Just a couple of the many side-effects of these drugs are suicidal and homicidal tendencies.”
I’ve been warning parents and educators for years that kids today are often over-medicated, or perhaps given prescription drugs when what they really need is wise leadership in their home and at school. My own son, Jonathan showed all the signs of being ADHD at age eight, but my wife and I decided to make drugs our last resort. I am glad we did. After adapting our parenting style at home, we all endured that season and Jonathan never took any drugs. He’s now a well-adjusted adult at 20.
Stephen Guffanti, M.D. (practicing physician and author of the book, Does Your Child Really Have ADHD, says, “Students in today’s schools are practically required to belong into the “one size fits all” curriculum club. When they don’t and they struggle, we label them, blame the label and the drug the label,” he continued. “These kids take the drugs we give them and while they are children, many seem to do ok. But when they turn 18, the drugs can only go so far to make them behave as we want them to. Drugs have a maximum dosage and by the time a child is an adult, the problems are still there, but the dosage doesn’t seem to work well any more.”
“In other words, the adults have the same set of problems we drugged them for as kids, but now have 5 year old coping skills as an adult. The drugs did not solve the problems behind their behavior – they simply masked them. As adults, they either take even more drugs in the wrong combination, stop taking them, or mix them with all sorts of things that cause horrific side effects given the combination,” he continued in almost an angry tone. “It is no wonder that the shooter today experienced such rage that he actually shot his mother in the face. And then he went on to shoot innocent little children deliberately while wearing a gun vest. How much worse does this medication problem have to get before we take it more seriously and require better physician care management and warnings,” he asked.
So, here’s my question to you: