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American Academy of Neurology Warning: Risks and Ethical Implications of Administering Medications to Children and Adolescents

The American Academy of Neurology has just released a dire warning highlighting the medical risks and ethical implications of administering mind altering medications and attention boosting stimulants to children and adolescents. The article is in response to the substantial increase of the diagnoses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the number of prescriptions issued in the past twenty years.

Dr. William Graf, lead author of the article and professor at Yale University, supports the effectiveness of the medications when children and teens with ADHD and other behavior issues were prescribed medications but raised concern over the number of healthy children who were prescribed the drugs to enhance their overall performance in school or increase concentration. Citing the "volume of drugs and the incredible increase," Graf and his colleagues confirmed: "the possibility of overdiagnosis and overtreatment is clearly there." The article went on to note that statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that 1.7 percent of eighth graders and 7.6 percent of 12th graders used Adderall for non medical reasons and noted several instances where this or other medications were obtained illegally or misused. The risks to maturing minds are not fully certain though Graf and many other members of the medical community suggest that, "giving amphetamines to kids" is a developmental threat to their long term, overall well being. He stated via a Reuters interview: "I think we have to be worried about how that affects the brain, mood, rational thought...and we don't have enough data about that yet."

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