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Children, Drugs, the "Ice" Problem
– and ways out

by Michael T. Hyson, Ph.D.

This 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.

Ritalin (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".

This 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.

Now 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.

Similar 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 similar conditions.

Furthermore, 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.

A 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)

According 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.

A 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 domestic violence.

Key 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 becomes calmer.

PTSD 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.

Fortunately 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.

Traumas 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.

One 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 trauma.

Anandamide 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 available evidence.

The 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.

We 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.

In the spirit of Aloha,

Michael T. Hyson, Ph.D.

Research Director
Sirius Institute
PO Box 1645
Pahoa, Hawai’i 96778

Email *PlanetPuna*: planetpuna@yahoo.com
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Email Author: michaelhyson@yahoo.com
Author Profile at: www.planetpuna.com/hyson


Supporting Documents

Model Links Locus Coeruleus & Hyperactivity

Bill To Protect Children From Rampant Medications

Ritalin - 'Sugar-Coated Cocaine' For Kids?

Ritalin Proven More Potent Than Cocaine – Nearly 10 Million Kids Drugged

Is Ritalin Raising Kids To Be Drug Addicts?


© 2000 by *PlanetPuna*, Sirius Institute & Sirius Connection 420
*All Rights Reserved to the Sources*
Updated July 26, 2003