Drugs, the "Ice" Problem
– and ways out
Michael T. Hyson, Ph.D.
island, state, and nation have a serious "ice" and cocaine
problem. It is reported that some 90% of local Child Protective
Services cases involve "ice" or methamphetamines and
related drugs. At the same time, the number of children being
classed as AD, HD, ADHD and prescribed stimulants and other drugs
is increasing. Some districts have put up to 25% of the children
on drugs. These situations are linked.
(methylphenidate) binds to the same receptor
in the brain as cocaine, and is, in fact, more effective
than cocaine, and while chemically different, the
effects of Ritalin and Cocaine are the same. Another
drug commonly used in these cases is Adderol which
contains methamphetamine – "ice".
is considered accepted medical treatment and is enforced
on children and parents by the Child Protective Services and related
agencies. Parents that wish to apply alternate treatments, as
part of seeking the best for their children, may have their children
taken by force.
we see that part of the "ice", cocaine and crack use
comes from adults, treated for years with Ritalin and Adderol
("ice" & "cocaine" equivalents), even
starting at ages of 2-4. These drugs have yet to be tested
or approved for children.
situations obtain in the use of Prozac, Paxil, and other drugs
that are known to have severe side-effects in adults, and the
effects in children are beyond our knowledge. Drugging of children
predisposes them to drug abuse, hence the current and growing
use of "ice", cocaine and other stimulant drugs. All this
is happening with little data showing that these drugs "prescribed"
for our children are even effective as treatments for ADHD and
many diagnoses are wrong because the diagnostic criteria for hyperactivity
are crude, arbitrary, and poorly quantified, requiring a large
measure of judgement on the part of the diagnostician. It was
once thought that valid rates of hyperactivity might be, at most,
2%, much lower than the rates now being claimed.
medical model proposed by Dr. Ivan Mefford and supported by the
work of neurophysiologist Dr. John Pettigrew and others offers
understanding - and a way out. (See: Model
Links Locus Coeruleous and Hyperactivity)
to Dr. Pettigrew, a group of nerve cells, the Locus Coeruleus,
in the brain stem, can become hyperactive and flood the brain
with norepinephrine, leading to a hyper-attentive state, just
like that seen in hyperactive children and which is similar to
the normal state of rabbits. Locus Coeruleus hyperactivity occurs
when adrenaline levels are too low. This can occur as a result
of trauma and lead to traumatic stress disorders.
person overwhelmed by chronic stress will over-stress the adrenal
glands and they will eventually shut down, leading to low adrenaline
levels. Mefford proposes that this is occurring in children, so
that many of the children presenting with hyperactivity syndromes
may, in fact, be already suffering from Post Traumatic Stress
Disorders (PTSD), even at the young ages they are first examined
in schools, because of the traumas of birth and/or abuse and/or
to this model is the fact that dosing a child with stimulant drugs
like Ritalin will "replace" the low adrenaline levels
and lead to the apparent paradox of a stimulant having a calming
effect. According to this model, the stimulants cause inhibitory
effects similar to adrenaline on the Locus Coeruleus, which then
reduces its norephinephrine production and thereby, the child/adult
was called "shell shock" when encountered in soldiers
in WWI & WWII. Such an individual has been pushed beyond their
stress limits. They require treatment and therapy to recover.
Adding stimulants to the mix is like putting a PTSD soldier back
into battle. From what we have shown here, this is similar to
our current standard medical approach.
for us all, there are better approaches. Drug use can deplete
the brain of nutrients and neurotransmitters. For example, Serotonin
(5-hydroxy-tryptryptamine) is often depleted. Supplementation
with proper nutrients, nutraceuticals can help. In
our example, 5-hydroxy-tryptophan, a precursor of serotonin, when
provided as a supplement, helps the brain recover from depletion
of serotonin stores. Based on such knowledge, mixes of nutrients
have been devised to restore balanced brain function to those
who have become depleted by use of various drugs. For example,
Recovery Essentials (www.recoveryessentials.com),
founded by Dr. Richard Kaufman, offers several products of this
type. They offer formulas to aid those affected by amphetamines,
opiates, alcohol and tobacco, among others.
leading to PTSD-like states also powerfully condition and imprint
the individual. Part of drug use is self-medication to alleviate
effects of trauma and abuse, especially childhood abuse. Therapy
seeks to heal the trauma, freeing the person to make other choices,
through love, acceptance, understanding. With the addition of
proper nutrition and nutraceuticals designed by the best biochemists,
we have a way to achieve a high rate of recovery both for our
children, and the adults effected by the overuse of "ice"
and other agents.
important part of this is the discovery and characterization of
Anandamide. Anandamide (from the Sanskrit "ananda"
for "bliss") is a neurotransmitter involved in
play, reward, creativity and is necessary for suckling. Anandamide
is necessary for forgetting things. A major function of the anandamide
system is to allow a traumatized person to selectively forget
things, which releases and heals the trauma. Thus the action of
anandamide is crucial for the resolution and forgetting of deep
binds to the same receptor site in the brain as tetrahydrocannabinol
(THC), which is the main active ingredient in Cannabis, and has
quite similar effects. For example, baby animals missing anandamide
fail to suckle, and will therefore ordinarily die soon after birth.
These babies suckle properly when THC is provided. Therefore Cannabis
is a natural plant substance that mimics anandamide. It follows
that proper medical use of Cannabis is one way to supplement Anandamide
and help those damaged by trauma and drug use to recover and move
on with their lives. This is the practical experience of communities
that use Cannabis in sacramental ways. Therefore, use of Cannabis
is one way to help people recover balance and is supported by
above approaches offer us a better paradigm, a humane and compassionate
approach, that above all, promises to be effective. I propose
that such alternatives be offered and made available. Of course,
trials would be wise to develop the finest approaches and take
advantage of increasing knowledge. This approach has the benefit
of being safe, since the necessary agents are nutrients and herbs
with well known effects, some of which have been used safely for
thousands of years in many cultures.
have qualified people ready to implement such approaches. For
our sanity, to mend the rending of our social fabric, and to restore
a world where whole children are raised in love, let us start.
I can provide more complete background and substantiation on request.
the spirit of Aloha,
T. Hyson, Ph.D.
PO Box 1645
Pahoa, Hawai’i 96778