Here is my contribution to the community discussion on abuse of prescription drugs:
The overmedication of our young - often by adults with the best of intentions - is poisoning our country's future. Driving this problem is the greatest collective failure humanity has: an incompetent ability to understand human behavior. This manifests in the almost universal fear of human irrationality - from minor phobias and disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) to dangerous fanaticism and insanity.
People who are afraid naturally grasp at anything to settle confusions and threats caused by what they fear. Consequently, faced with inexplicable behavior by children, parents and others grasp advice from nearly any source they conceive to have repute.
Thus heavy pharmaceutical marketing and advertisements - pushing the apparently scientific idea that man is a chemically motivated, stimulus-response animal - exert tremendous influence. A vacuum of understanding is filled with the alluring concept that "Johnny's mental problems" are only caused by chemical imbalances that the right drug will treat.
This directly tempts one of humanity's most dangerous weaknesses: lust for shortcuts. This lust has been preyed on since the days of snake oil salesman and granny love potions - the grandparents of modern pharmaceutical companies.
So the reason for over-medication of children and the young is revealed: fear, inadequate understandings and lust for shortcuts.
The abuse of legal drugs through over-medication of the young is factually the worst form of substance abuse. Why? Because once a child or youth becomes convinced - through adult and social encouragement - that drugs are an appropriate solution to becoming happier or acceptably normal to others, he's primed to explore illegal drugs using the same rationale. This makes our sanctimonious anti-drug campaigns a joke.
In conclusion, don't succumb to humanity's cravings for shortcuts to human tractability.
In recent centuries, scientifically weak psychology/psychiatry experts have spawned behavioral treatment fads such as intentional bloodletting, insulin and electric shock "therapies," and lobotomies. These mental health treatment rackets have been very profitable.
The newest fad is designer mood-altering drugs. Are these inadequately studied drugs (the Federal Government, NIMH, admits it) right for all our young being forced to take them? Please answer this question using your own mind.