CCHR - Press Room

United Nations Steps into Child Drugging Controversy, Warns Against Psychiatric Labeling and Harmful ADHD-drugs

Separately, FDA orders black box warning on ADHD-prescribed drug

In a landmark report, the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the world's premier children's rights body, has issued a strong warning against falsely labeling youth with the psychiatric diagnosis of "Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)" and administering powerful ADHD-drugs.

In its Concluding Observations on reports by Australia, Finland and Denmark regarding their compliance to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Committee expressed concern that "[ADHD] and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are being misdiagnosed and therefore psycho-stimulant drugs are being overprescribed, despite growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs."

Jan Eastgate, international president of the psychiatric watchdog group, Citizens Commission on Human Rights, applauded the report. "The misdiagnosing and psychiatric drugging of children are violations of human rights and we commend the Committee for taking action," she said.

The Committee urges that "other forms of management and treatment" be used to address difficult behavior in children.

With an estimated 17 million children prescribed mind-altering drugs, the United Nations is the latest in a series of government bodies to alert the public to the damage they can do to young people. Prompted by reports of harm — including deaths — attributed to the drugs, agencies have been reviewing clinical reports that confirm the side effects to include hallucinations, hostility, agitation, aggression, suicidal tendencies and violent behavior.

On September 29, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ordered that "black box" warnings be placed on a commonly prescribed ADHD drug, after clinical trials linked the drug to suicidal thoughts and behavior. The FDA indicated that the new warning stems from an ongoing review of all ADHD drugs and their possible association with suicide.

A day before the FDA's ruling, the British National Health Service's Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) issued guidelines for doctors on non-psychiatric remedies for children, including regular sleep, exercise and nutrition. NICE issued the guidelines following a June 2003 British Medical advisory warning doctors that anti-depressants can pose suicidal risks for young people.

On August 19th, the Commission of the European Communities, representing 25 countries, issued the strongest warnings to date by any medical agency against child antidepressant use, based on findings by the European Medicines Agency. Clinical trials again confirmed that the drugs caused suicidal behavior as well as aggression and hostility in children and adolescents. The Commission recommended against the prescription of these drugs for anyone under 18.

Said Ms. Eastgate, "The UN, the FDA and the European Commission should be encouraged to seek out and eradicate the source of the problem-psychiatrists who have misled governments, medical agencies and the public. There is no brain scan, blood test, X-Ray or 'chemical imbalance' test to verify the existence of so-called ADHD. Psychiatry's false marketing campaign is destroying children's lives."

CCHR has documented that psychiatrists and mental health interests have promoted their false diagnoses to maintain a more than $20 billion dollar-a-year industry.

OFFICE OF THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER ON HUMAN RIGHTS

COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD

AUSTRALIA
http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/CRC.C.15.Add.268.pdf

49. The Committee is also concerned at the information that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are being mis-diagnosed and therefore psycho-stimulant drugs are being overprescribed, despite the growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs.

50. The Committee recommends that further research be undertaken on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and ADD, including the possible negative effects of psycho-stimulants on the physical and psychological well-being of children, and that other forms of management and treatment are used as much as possible to address these behavioural disorders.

FINLAND
http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/CRC.C.15.Add.272.pdf

38. The Committee is also concerned at the information that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) are being misdiagnosed and therefore psycho-stimulant drugs are being overprescribed, despite the growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs.

39. The Committee recommends that further research be undertaken on the diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and ADD, including the possible negative effects of psycho-stimulants on the physical and psychological well-being of children, and that other forms of management and treatment are used as much as possible to address these behavioural disorders.

DENMARK
http://www.ohchr.org/english/bodies/crc/docs/co/CRC.C.15.Add.273.pdf

43. The Committee is concerned at the information that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Attention Deficient Disorder (ADD) are being mis-diagnosed and therefore psycho-stimulant drugs are being over-prescribed, despite the growing evidence of the harmful effects of these drugs.

44. The Committee recommends that further research be undertaken on the diagnosis and the treatment of ADHD and ADD, including possible negative effects of psychological well-being of children, and that other forms of management and treatment are used as much as possible to address these behavioral disorder.
Published: 3 October 2005
Author: Marla Filidei

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