When I was a kid, my friends and I had a lot of excess energy. We'd burn it off on the playgrounds at Webster Elementary and James Monroe Jr. High in Ballard by playing tag and dodgeball. After school, we'd play one-on-one in the driveway, or we'd go into the woods and play war.
Today, many schools have outlawed tag and dodgeball, all sports must be adult-supervised, and if a kid plays war, they're immediately sent to a psychologist to find out why they lack empathy.
We have a different way of dealing with kids' energy today - we drug them into a stupor.
A shocking report in the New York Times reveals that one in five high school-aged boys has been given a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. ONE-IN-FIVE! More than 70 percent of those kids are then put on a drug like Adderal or Ritalin.
I used to be against drugging kids in all cases. But over the years, I've known some families who have truly seen a remarkable change for the better in their kids when they got them on the right medication. So I'm not an absolutist on this matter.
But no one will ever convince me that 20 percent of our high school boys need to be drugged. I think this has been a disgusting push over the years by the pharmaceutical industry to gain control of our kids' minds and bodies as early as possible.
The number of kids diagnosed with ADHD has increased 53 percent in the last ten years. How can that be possible? This is a plague that has largely been created by a multi-billion dollar industry - and only they have the fix.
I have an idea: How about if we stop suspending kids for making "guns" out of pop tarts, stop kicking them out of school for bringing a butter knife to cut their fruit and let them play tag once in a while.
Maybe the reason the kids need so many drugs is because we are driving them nuts. But at least the big drug companies have just the right pill to "cure" that.