Saturday, December 17, 2016

Were the 80's Kids the Guinea Pigs for Generation Rx?

I am a baby boomer. My children were 80's kids known otherwise as Generation Y. Known to me as the guinea pigs to Generation Rx. You may know some of them yourself. The generation of kids who rate a hang nail and paper cut in the same pain scale as an
amputated limb (even though they have no clue what an amputated limb feels like) Is this all somehow related to our heroin crisis in this country? I know. My own kids exaggerated with the pain scale. I am referring to this generation also as the Ritalin/Adderall Kids.

My own experience in this generation:

In 1987 our oldest son started kindergarten. Yes I was sad seeing him off on his first day of school. He was my oldest. This day felt as if I was starting to lose a little of him because he was setting off on his first step of being my little "big" man.

Remembering my own early school days I told him he would be making new friends. School was fun.

Before the first semester was even through I was getting calls from the school and his teacher about his behavior. They were telling me that he wouldn't stay in his seat. I told them, he's never been to school in his life. He's never had to set down. He's five and spent the last years at home being a toddler.

When he wanted to get up, he did. When he wanted to play, he did. When he wanted to talk, he did. Now he is in a more structured environment and in four weeks he was expected to be in a certain "standard." They were not even allowing for any transition.

At home, we explained to him what school was. That he was to listen to his teacher. He was to stay in his seat and obey all the other classroom rules.

As the days and weeks progressed and more calls from the teacher I was called in to a meeting. Present for the meeting was the teacher, the principle and the guidance counselor who all told me my son was now a candidate for Ritalin as they explained words like, hyper activity, attention deficit disorder and how this all played out into social disorders.

They asked all sorts of questions about our home life which I can say, yes put me a little on the defensive. I mean what were they getting at anyway? Every kid has their first year in school.

I immediately went into a frenzy. How can my son be hyperactive at school when he's not a hyper child at home? He's a five year old boy. He is behaving like any five year old who has never been to school. This is his first time at school and other than an hour in Sunday School (where btw he didn't show any signs of hyperactivity) this was new to him- a transitional time.

I was told that the school had notified the school psychologist who would be arranging to meet with our son. Afterwards I would be called back for another meeting to get the results. I decided since the first meeting felt like a gang up on me, I was taking my mom in the next time.

The next meeting was worst than the first- a bending of the nerves. They showed me his grades- all failing- because they said, he wouldn't stay in his seat. Nah, there is something more going on here. Another recommendation for Ritalin was made in which I replied, No way.

The school then said they could get me for medical neglect. Off to our primary physician we went. I explained what the school was telling me. Our physician said well if the school is saying it, then it must be true and he wrote scripts.

I said you can write all you want, but until you can answer the question of why this drug can only be given while he's in school and not at home he will not take it.

This was the start of a very brutal six years in elementary school. Of course he failed kindergarten- he wasn't ready for first grade. That- we could all agree on. The next year he had the same teacher who once again started with the Ritalin talk the first weeks of school. I would not back down from my earlier stance of No Drugs For My Child.

They couldn't explain why this drug was only needed at school and not at home. It sounded to me like it was more of a convenience drug- for the school. In the meantime I learned that 70% of the students who attended that school were on Ritalin (or another form of attention deficit drugs). 68% of them were male students.

More meetings and then it was on the table. The school psychologist told me that he was having trouble is several subjects. Could it be? Maybe he was having trouble with learning and not behavior?

Nope said the teacher.
I never backed down.

Fast forward to Sixth Grade, Middle School. He was having trouble comprehending in all areas of learning. We were remediated to a Learning Center and he was given a test. This test was to see where he was at in his learning before accepting him.

After the test was given we were notified for another meeting to hear the results.

Drum Roll...... Here was our son, a sixth grader who in all subjects in school was only at a second grade level and was twelve years old. Although I fought every year on the learning disability, they fought back with why he needed Ritalin and there was the answer on paper in black and white.

Short version- I never put him on Ritalin for school convenience and they never taught him a damn thing. The teachers at the Learning Center get the credit for that. It took two years to catch him up to the level of the grade he was in before starting high school. He had to work very hard for those two years.

I now wonder about all the other schools in this town in the 1980's and 1990's. How many others used Ritalin and Adderall as a means of control? What were the percentages of the other schools in this county whose children were on Ritalin or Adderall?

Now I know that opiate addiction can affect anyone of any age, but look at the age groups today that are really affected. Many of them say they were in their late teens/early twenties when they experimented with heroin. I honestly believe that the 80's kids were the beginnings of Generation Rx.

Fast forward to today when many family members are giving their children these drugs. Several of them in no way shape or form need them.

Isn't it amazing that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is labeled as "genetic" skipped three to four generations (parents, grandparents, and great grandparents) before affecting the children of the 1980's and 1990's?

It reminds me of the days of Paregoric. Remember Paregoric- aka tincture of opium?  Given to many kids in my generation by parents who didn't want to pay any attention to their kids. Kids were best behaved when they were sleeping. Actually until the early 1970's parents could get this drug over the counter without a prescription.

I would love to hear from you. Were your kids part of that generation? Were your kids on Ritalin or other drugs in the 1980's/1990's as part of the Attention Deficit/Hyper Active Generation?

See also: The Documentary,  The Drugging Of Our Children

I left the name of the school out of this as well as the teacher, principal and any other. This however is a school here in Martinsburg, WV.

pic used from wiki
© 2016 Gossip Girl

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