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Message: 2
   Date: Thu, 9 Dec 1999 11:10:46 EST
Subject: Re: QUEST: ADD - Does it Exist?  An Investigative Reporter's View - With FACTS!

 Many parents around the country have discovered that Ritalin-taking has
 become a condition for their children continuing in school. There are even
 reports by parents of threats from social agencies: "If you don't allow us
 prescribe Ritalin for your ADD child, we may decide that you are an unfit
 parent. We may decide to take your child away."

 This mind-boggling state of affairs is fuelled by teachers, principals and
 school counsellors, who do not have medical training.

 Yet the very definition of the illness for which Ritalin would be prescribed
 is in doubt, especially at the highest levels of the medical profession.
 doubt, however, has not filtered down to most public schools.

 Commenting on Dr Lawrence Diller's book, Running on Ritalin, Dr William
 Carey, Director of Behavioral Pediatrics at the ChiIdren's Hospital of
 Philadelphia, has written: "Dr Diller has correctly descibed the disturbing
 trend of blaming children's social, behavioral and academic performance
 problems entirely on an unproven brain deficit...

 On November 16-I8, 1998, the US National Institute of Mental Health held the
 prestigious NIH Consensus Development Conference on Diagnosis and Treatment
 of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. The conference was explicitly
 aimed at ending all debate about the diagnoses of ADD and ADHD and about the
 prescription of Ritalin. It was hoped that at the highest levels of medical
 research and bureaucracy, a clear position would be taken: this is what ADHD
 is, this is where it comes from, and these are the drugs it should be
 with. That didn't happen, amazingly. Instead, the official panel responsible
 for drawing conclusions from the conference threw cold water on the whole
 attempt to reach a comfortable consensus.

 Panel member Mark Vonnegut, a Massachusetts peadiatrician, said: "The
 diagnosis [of ADHD] is a mess."

 The panel essentially said it sure ADHD was even a "valid" diagnosis. In
 other words, ADD and ADHD might be nothing more than attempts to categorize
 certain children's behaviours with no organic cause, no clear-cut biological
 basis, no provable reason for even using the ADD or ADHD labels. The panel
 found "no data to indicate that ADHD is due to a brain malfunction [which
 malfunction had been the whole psychiatric assumption in the first place]".

The panel also found that Ritalin has not been shown to have long-term
 benefits. In fact, it stated that Ritalin has resulted in "little
 on academic achievement or social skills".

 Panel chairman David Kupfer, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of
 Pittsburgh said: "There is no current validated diagnostic test [for ADHD]."

 Yet at every level of public education in America1 there remains what can
 only be called a voracious desire to give children Ritalin (or other similar
 drugs) for ADD or ADHD.

 Nullifying the warnings, assurances and prescriptions that doctors routinely
 give to parents of children who have been diagnosed with ADD or ADHD should
 be a national goal.

 The 1994 Textbook of Psydriatry. published by the American Psychiatric
 contains this review by Popper and Steingard. The pronouncement makes a
 number of things clear. "Stimulants [such as Ritalin] do not produce lasting
 improvements In aggressivity, conduct disorder, criminality, education
 achievement, job functioning, marital relationships or long-term

 Parents should also wake up to the fact that, in the aftermath of the
 Littleton, Colorado, tragedy, pundits and doctors are urging more extensive
 "mental health" services for children. Fine, except whether you have noticed
 it or not, for the most part this no longer means therapy with a caring
 professional. It means drugs. It means the drugs I am discussing in this

 In December 1996, the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) held a
 conference On ADHD and Ritalin. Surprisingly, it issued a sensible statement
 about drugs being a bad substitute for the presence of caring parents: "...
 the use of stimulants [such as Ritalin] for the short-term improvement of
 behavior and underachievement may be thwarting efforts to address the
 children's real issues, both on an individual and societal level. The lack
 long-term positive results with the use of stimulants and the specter of
 previous and potential stimulant abuse epidemics give cause to worry about
 the future. The dramatic increase in the use of methylphenidate [Ritalin] in
 the 1990s should be viewed as a marker or warning to society about the
 problems children are having and bow we view and address them.

 The Brookhaven National Laboratory has studied Ritalin through PET brain
 scans. Lab researchers have found that the drug decreased the flow of blood
 to all parts of the brain by 20 to 30 per cent. That is, of course, a very
 negative finding. It is a signal of danger. But parents, teachers,
 counsellors, principals, school psychologists know nothing about this. Nor
 they know that cocaine produces the same blood-flow effect.

 In his book, Talking Back to Ritalin, Peter Breggin expands on the drug's
 effects: "Stimulants such as Ritalin and amphetamine...have grossly harmful
 impacts on the brain-reducing overall blood flow, disturbing glucose
 metabolism and possibly causing permanent shrinkage or atrophy of the


 In the wake of the Littleton shooting, we find that "the American people"
 lawyers pundits and child psychologists are pointing the finger at
 at video games like Doom, at inattentive parents, and at the availability of
 guns. We have to wonder why almost no one is calling out these drugs. Is it
 possible that the work of PR people is shaping the national response?

 An instructive article, "Protecting Prozac", by Michael Grinfeld in the
 December 1998 California Laywer, opens several doors. Grinfeld notes that
 the past year, nearly a dozen mg Prozac have disappeared from the court
 record". He is talking about lawsuits against the manufacturer, Eli Lilly,
 and he is saying that these cases have apparently been settled, without
 trial, in such a quiet and final way, with such strict confidentiality that
 it Is almost as if they never happened.

 This smoothness, this invisibility, keeps the Press away and ... unknown to
 the public, there has been "a long-term, unpublicised relationship between
 the company that makes the most widely known ADD medication [Ritalin] and
 nation's largest ADD support group".

 also, most importantly, does not encourage other people to come out of the
 woodwork with lawyers and Prozac horror-stories of their own, because they
 are not reading about $2 million or $10 million or $50 million settlements
 paid out by Lilly.
 Grinfeld details a set of manocuvres involving attorney Paul Smith who, in
 the early 1990s1 became the lead plaintiffs counsel in the famous Fentress
 case against Eli Lilly. The case made the accusation that Prozac had induced
 murder. This was the first action involving Prozac to reach a trial and
 so it would establish a major precedent for a large number of other pending
 suits against the manufacturer. After what many people thought was a very
 weak attack on Lilly by Smith, the jury came back in five hours with an easy
 verdict favouring Lilly and Prozac.

 Grinfeld writes: "Lilly's defense attorneys predicied the verdict would be
 the death knell for [anti-]Prozac litigation."

 But that wasn't the end of the Fentress case, even though Smith, to the
 surprise of many, didn't appeal.

 Rumors began to circulate that Smith had made several [prior] oral
 with Lilly concerning the evidence that would be presented [in Fentress],
 structure of a postverdict settlement, and the potential resolution of
 Smith's other [anti-Prozac] cases. "

 In other words, the rumours said: This lawyer made a deal with Lilly to
 present a weak attack, to omit evidence damaging to Prozac, so that the jury
 would find Lilly innocent of all charges. In return for this, the case would
 be settled secretly, with Lilly paying out monies to Smith's client. In this
 way, Lilly would avoid the exposure of a public settlement, and through the
 innocent verdict would discourage other potential plaintiffs from suing it
 over Prozac.

 The rumours congealed. The Fentress case Judge, John Potter, asked lawyers
 both sides if changed hands". He wanted to know if the fix was in. The
 lawyers said no money had been paid, "without acknowledging that an
 was in place".

 Judge Potter didn't stop there. In April 1995, Grinfeld noted: "In court
 papers, Potter wrote that he was surprised that the plaintiff's attorneys
 [Smith) hadn't introduced evidence that Lilly had been charged criminally
 failing to report deaths from another of its drugs to the Food and Drug
 Administration. Smith had fought hard [during the Fentress trial] to
 Potter to admit that evidence, and then unaccountably withheld it".

 In Judge Potter's motion, he alleged that "Lilly [in the Fentress case]
 sought to buy not just the verdict, but the court's judgement as well".

 In 1996, the Kentucky Supreme Court issued an opinion on all ...there was a
 serious lack of candor with the trial court [during Fentress] and there may
 have been deception, bad faith conduct, abuse of the judicial process or
 perhaps even fraud."

 After the Supreme Court remanded the Fentress case back to the state
 Attorney-General's office, the whole matter dribbled away, and then
 resurfaced in a different form in another venue. At the time of the
 California Lawyer article, a new action against Smith was unresolved.

 If Eli Lilly went to extreme lengths to control suits against Prozac, it
 stands to reason that drug companies could also try to deflect legal actions
 by influencing how the Press, lawyers and public view these school
 For example, accusing video games is acceptable, accusing guns is
 accusing bad parents is acceptable. In fact, these causes, as I stated
 are legitimate.


 In 1996, the PBS television series, The Merrow Report, produced a program
 called ('Attention Deficit Disorder: A Dubious Diagnosis?" The Educational
 Writers Association awarded the program first prize for investigative
 reporting in that year. I can recall no other piece of television journalism
 since the Vietnam War which has managed to capture, on film, government
 officials in the act of realizing that they have made serious mistakes.

 John Merrow, the series host, explains that, unknown to the public, there
 been "a long-term, unpublicised financial relationship between the company
 that makes the most widely known ADD medication [Ritalin] and the nation's
 largest ADD support group." The group is CHADD, based in Florida.

CHADD stands for Children and Adults with ADD. Its 650 local chapters
sponsor regional conferences and monthly meetings, often held at schools. It
educates thousands of families about ADD and ADHD and gives out free medical advice.
 This advice features the drug Ritalin.

 Since 1988, when CHADD and Ciba-Geigy (now Novartis), the manufacturer of
 Ritalin, began their financial relationship, Ciba-Geigy has given almost a
 million dollars to CHADD helping it to expand its membership from 800 to
 35,000 people.

 Merrow interviews several parents whose children are on Ritalin-parents who
 have been relying on CHADD for information. They are clearly taken aback
 they learn that CHADD obtains a significant amount of its funding from the
 drug company that makes Ritalin.

 CHADD has used Ciba-Geigy money to promote its pharmaceutical message
 a public service announcement produced for television. Nineteen million
 people have seen it. As Merrow says: "CHADD's name is on it, but Ciba-Geigy
 paid for it."

 It turns out that in all of CHADD's considerable literature written for the
 public, there is rare mention of Ciba-Geigy. In fact, the only instance of
 the connection Merrow could find on the record was a small print citation on
 an announcement of a single CHADD conference.

 In recounting CHADD's promotion of drug "therapy" for ADD, Merrow says:
 "CHADD's literature also says psychostimulant medications [like Ritalin] are
 not addictive".

 Merrow brings this up with Gene Haslip, a DEA official in Washington. Haslip
 is visibly annoyed. "Well," he says, very misleading. It's [Ritalin's]
 certainly a drug that can cause a very high degree of dependency. like all
 the very potent snmulants."
 Merrow reveals that CHADD received a $750,OOO grant from the US Department
 Education in 1996 to produce a video, Facing the Challenge of ADD. The video
 doesn't just mention the generic name methylphenidate: it announces the drug
 by its brand name, Ritalin. This, at government (taxpayer) expense.

 In the case of the school shootings, has an attempt been made to mould media
 response, to highlight various causes and omit others?

 When the national press is completely silent on medical drugs, we have to
 question the background on that. We have to. We have to ask: Why should this
 horrendous factor be eliminated altogether from reporting to the nation?

 Real action is going to have to come from the public. Parents in Littleton
 and Springfield and West Paducah and Jonesboro are going to have to ask the
 hard questions and become relentless about getting real answers. They are
 going to have to learn about these drugs. They'll have to learn which
 children in the school shootings were on these drugs. They are going to have
 to throw off robotic obedience to authorities in white coats. And they are
 going to have to join together. If they do, many people will end up standing
 with them.

 Some sources of information:

 * ADHD Action Group, telephone (212-769-2457.
 * Dr Peter Breggin, psychiatrist, author and former full-time consultant
 the National Institute of Mental Health, website:
 * ICSPP News, telephone (301-652-5580), website: ICSPP News
 publishes the following in bold letters: "Do Not Try to Abruptly Stop Taking
 Psychiatric Drugs. When trying to withdraw from many psychiatric drugs
 patients can develop serious and threatening reactions... Therefore,
 withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done under medical
 * Dr Joseph Tarantolo, psychiatrist, of the Washington chapter of the
 of Psychoanalytic Physic phone (301-652-5580).
 * The Merrow Report: to order transcript or videotape, telephone
 * The Truth Seeker Foundation, P0 Box 28550, San Diego, California 92198,
 USA, telephone (619-676-0430), fax (619-676-0433), e-mail , website . The
 Foundation sponsors investigations into vital matters that have not risen to
 the level of open public debate. It believes that in order to solve serious
 human problems, we must commit ourselves to uncovering deeper strata of
 that underlie public events, news and political discourse. Only in this way
 can we all create a more just future.

 About the Author:

 Jon Rappoport has worked as an investigative reporter for 15 years. He has
 written articles on politics, medicine and health for Spin, Stern, Village
 Voice, In These Times and a number of other magazines and newspapers in the
 United States and Europe. In 1982, the LA Weekly placed his name in
 nomination for the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the military takeover
 at the University of El Salvador. Mr Rappoport is the author of Oklahoma
 Bombing, Madalyn Murray O'Hair, and AIDS Inc,, a widely praised critique of
 the original research behind HlV.