Cough Medicines Too Risky for Kids but Psychotropic Drugs are Just Fine

Here in the Middling Years of the Nanny State, it is with little surprise that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided to ban cold medicines for young kids.  Like most such prohibitions, the ban is not completely without its merits: the argument that adult remedies rarely work the same on kids and that they may not work at all and the fact that 750 kids per year had to go to the hospital for reactions or side-effects (though this hardly sounds like a statistically significant number in a nation of 300 million – 150 children a year actually die from bee stings but we haven’t outlawed bees yet).

So OK, now that we have this evil cough syrup menace taken care of, wonder if the FDA can be troubled to turn its attention to far more serious drugs that are specifically marketed and targeted to children: serious hard-core psychotropic drugs such as Ritalin, Paxil, and many others (which are mostly speed/amphetamines – remember when those things were bad?). 

Sometimes given with good cause, sometimes irreverently referred to as a “straight-jacket in a bottle,” these drugs have skyrocketed in use in children over the past 15 years.  Yet,  no-one (except the drugs companies and medical professionals who profit no doubt) even knows exactly what percentage of kids are on this stuff (estimates seem to place the number at 5 million US kids).  

Far more disturbing are the consequences of these policies of mass medication: 

Government drug policy makers must be on some serious mind-altering drugs themselves when they prioritize relatively benign medicines such as cough remedies before these incredibly potent drugs.  Where is a Nanny State when you need one?


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