At the time, almost everyone thought such a dystopian vision of the future would never come true.
Well, unfortunately, now it is beginning to come true.
In some classrooms in the United States, five percent of the six-year-olds are on Ritalin (methylphenidate hydrochloride).
They have been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and thus have been prescribed Ritalin as a medication for the treatment of their behavioral syndrome.
But how can one in twenty children in a classroom have ADHD?
Forty years ago, very few children were diagnosed with hyperactivity or minimal brain dysfunction (MBD), a disorder which was later renamed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and even fewer were prescribed psychostimulants as a treatment.
Either there has been a sharp rise in this psychological problem, due to environmental, biological, chemical, or social factors, or most of these children are being given a wrong diagnosis.
However, the site of the United States’ National Institute on Drug Abuse (www.nida.nih.gov) states: “It has been estimated that 3–7 percent of school-age children have ADHD.”
Barry Turner, a lecturer in medical ethics at Britain’s Lincoln University, has expressed concern about treating ADHD with drugs.
“There are undoubtedly large numbers of unruly and disruptive children -- that’s a child’s job.
“The medicalizing of the problem is the issue -- whether these children have a condition that requires medication -- I don’t believe they do,” he told the BBC in February 2005.
He still has the same view.
“There is no empirical scientific evidence that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder exists and no evidence to support the use of powerful psychostimulant medications in children, some of whom are too young to be able to metabolize these products,” Turner told the Tehran Times last week.
Methylphenidate is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that was invented in the 1940s and hit the market in the 1950s.
In the 1960s, it was prescribed to treat children with hyperactivity or minimal brain dysfunction, and after that disorder was renamed attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it was prescribed to treat children with ADHD.
It is said that it has a therapeutic effect for children with ADHD because it increases dopamine in the striatum and prefrontal cortex of the brain, but some medical experts believe it works by affecting the action of serotonin in the brain.
Ritalin is a stimulant but it acts like a depressant when given to children. Some scientists say this is because it stimulates the self-discipline areas of their brains.
In the 1990s, there was a significant rise in the number of children diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, especially in the United States, methylphenidate became the medication most commonly prescribed to treat ADHD, and consequently production and prescription of methylphenidate rose dramatically.
Ritalin can cause psychosis, mood swings, anorexia, depression, anxiety, irritability, headaches, and insomnia.
It can also cause severe depression upon withdrawal.
The site of the U.S. National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov) states: “Methylphenidate may cause sudden death in children and teenagers with heart defects or serious heart problems.”
“Methylphenidate may slow children’s growth or weight gain.”
In addition, it has been reported that Ritalin shrinks the brain. Studies show that the posterior inferior vermis, which is the small part of the cerebellum, is smaller by about 12 percent and the caudate is about 6 percent smaller in children who are using methylphenidate. However, some experts believe it is a preexisting condition. They say these sections of the brains of children with ADHD are naturally smaller before they start taking methylphenidate.
It has also been said that Ritalin demotivates children and puts their minds in a hypnotic trance state, which makes them highly susceptible to mind control techniques.
Of course, some children may really have ADHD -- if such a disorder exists -- and perhaps Ritalin is the best drug to prescribe for their treatment.
But what is happening to the children who have been given a wrong diagnosis?
Well, they are being sedated unnecessarily and this will definitely have an adverse effect on their intellectual development.
When they become young adults in their late teens, many of these youth are diagnosed with severe depression or bipolar disorder and prescribed the antidepressant Prozac (fluoxetine hydrochloride).
So they graduate from Ritalin to Prozac.
Of course, some people may really have bipolar disorder -- if such a disorder exists -- and perhaps Prozac is the best drug to prescribe for their treatment, but again, what about the people who have been given a wrong diagnosis?
In August 2004, the BBC, The Observer, and other major news outlets reported that Britain’s Environment Agency had discovered that Prozac was accumulating in rivers and groundwater used for drinking supplies.
Shortly afterwards, the Environment Agency announced that it had never issued such a report and said that Britain’s drinking water supplies were safe and contained no Prozac.
There are also reports that trace amounts of Ritalin and Prozac have been found in the water supplies of cities in the United States because the sewage treatment plants are not equipped to filter out these psychoactive drugs.
One report (http://lists.dep.state.fl.us/pipermail/pharmwaste/2006-September/000618.html) states that scientists “have documented that Las Vegas’ treated sewage plant discharges carry traces of codeine, Prozac, Valium, common antibiotics, insect repellents and a host of chemicals termed endocrine disruptors into the Lake Mead reservoir.”
In 2002, the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a study (http://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20040810/prozac-in-drinking-water-likely-so) which reported: “Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater-related chemicals have been detected at very low concentrations in streams across the U.S.”
“Among the chemicals detected were: human and veterinary drugs (including antibiotics), natural and synthetic hormones, detergents, plasticizers, insecticides, and fire retardants.”
In view of all this, it could be said that the United States is becoming a totally sedated Ritalin Nation and a Prozac Nation.
As a result, U.S. citizens are becoming complacent automatons who are highly susceptible to hypnotic suggestion and brainwashing.
They are being turned into obedient sheeple in a form of modern-day slavery, mental slavery.
Children naturally have a lot of energy. If a child is a little bit hyperactive or has some trouble focusing, it doesn’t mean he or she has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
The situation has reached crisis proportions in the United States, and some countries in Europe are also beginning to prescribe Ritalin to large numbers of children.
And many of these children will also graduate to Prozac when they grow up.
Are Ritalin and Prozac being used as mind control drugs?
Many people would say no.
But many people would also say yes, citing the fact that so many people are being unnecessarily prescribed these drugs.
It is clear that this issue requires further examination because far too many people are on these drugs.
Children should never be given drugs they don’t need which affect their minds.
Will we all become zombies hooked on psychotropic drugs?
Yes, definitely, if we do nothing.
Clearly, something must be done before this dystopian vision of the future comes true and there is no turning back.
(May 7 Tehran Times Opinion Column, by Hamid Golpira)