Drugging Children for Conformity
By Colin Taufer
December 2016

Throughout its long history, Ritalin has been a drug in search of a “disorder”. Its manufacturer Ciba (now Novartis) has spent millions on advertising and “doctor education” trying to find and create a profitable “disease” for its drug.

In the mid-1950’s Ritalin was advertised as a way to boost spirits and to make patients more cooperative and manageable. Later, in the same decade, Ciba tried another approach and marketed Ritalin as a “safe, effective geriatric supplement”. In the 1960’s promotional focus again shifted and it touted itself as a way to “restore alertness, enthusiasm and drive” and a way to “spark energy”.

In the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, housewives became the target population for this wandering drug. One magazine ad of the day was quite blatant. It featured a photograph of an exhausted homemaker sitting atop her vacuum, bags under her eyes, head resting in her palm. With RITALIN, trumpeted the ad, “fatigue and worry seem to vanish”. Even pop culture of this era reflected the sudden popularity of drug manufacturers targeting mothers. The Rolling Stones’ 1966 hit song “Mother’s Little Helper” contained these lyrics:

Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill, there’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

But it wasn’t until the 1970’s when Ritalin began its ascent to become one of the biggest players in the multi-billion dollar market we know today. That was when it began selling itself to worried parents with anxiety-stoking ad copy like this:

The mean child who doesn’t mean it… Is he a “hyper-active” problem child?

At the same time, doctors began pushing childhood MBD, or Minimal Brain Dysfunction in children. Ads trumpeted with authority:

Mischief or MBD? (Don’t mistake one for the other)

He has disrupted his family…his teacher’s classroom…and his own life. But he can’t help it. He has MBD.

MBD was the “all-encompassing, wastebasket diagnosis for any child who does not quite conform to society’s stereotype of normal children”. These words come from the article The Minimal Brain Dysfunction Myth published in November 1975 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Pediatrics.

In the eyes of the psychiatrist and big pharma, what is a “normal” (conformist) child today? Using their own criteria, directly from the ADHD checklist, such a child:
● interferes with no one
● answers questions politely
● never interrupts
● pleasantly stands in line
● quietly waits for their turn
● stays focused on homework
● always completes activities before moving on to the next activity
● never makes careless mistakes
● stays organized
● never loses anything
● keeps self under control
● never fidgets
● remains seated
● always says the right thing at the right time
● sits quietly on task

I myself can think of no child I know or have known, no matter how stellar their grades or wonderful their accomplishments or fantastic their parents, who meets all these criteria.

Every child who does not conform to psychiatry’s definition of normal is the “right” target for Ritalin (or Concerta or Adderall or any other drug that targets such children) — the “right” target being all children. And thus, Ritalin’s “disease” of the “hyperactive child” was born: ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. (Not surprisingly, since 2000, the FDA has cited every single major ADHD drug manufacturer for false and misleading advertising.)

Methylphenidate, the drug that is Ritalin and the basis of all ADHD drugs, has a high potential for abuse and it produces many of the same effects as cocaine, according to the DEA. It has also been shown to specifically suppress social play behavior.

With over ten million Americans currently taking ADHD drugs, millions of adults included, psychiatry and big pharma are on their way to creating a nation full of quiet, unquestioning, and non-interfering conformists.

Unless we do something about it.

One suggestion is to make the psychiatrist complaint form at PsychSearch.net well-known. There, a complaint can be filed online against any psychiatrist in the country. States seldom take action without first receiving a complaint.

Colin Taufer

Colin Taufer


Welcome to my monthly column. I am a career educator, writer and lifelong advocate for human rights. With each article, I hope to shine a light into the dark world of psychiatry to make stronger champions of human rights, to stir into action, to enlighten. As always, I appreciate feedback from readers. I can be reached at Colin@PsychSearch.net