It's a fact that ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is an over diagnosed 'condition' that makes patients of children who used to be classified as 'difficult' or 'energetic'. Once the ADHD label has been attached, a child can become a customer for a drug such as Ritalin.
Even the World Health Organization, hardly an arch-enemy of the pharmaceutical industry, has grown concerned about the overuse of Ritalin and similar drugs.
But one researcher has lost her job for speaking out. Dr Gretchen LeFever, a clinical psychologist and associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the East Virginia Medical School, has been charged with 'scientific miscondust' and her computers have been seized.
Dr LeFever has been an outspoken critic of Ritalin use for several years, much to the embarrassment of her colleagues and the medical community. In 1999 she revealed that up to 10 per cent of children in south-eastern Virginia were being prescribed drugs for ADHD< three times the national average, and in 2002 she discovered that prevalence of the 'disorder' had risen by 17 per cent among schoolchildren.
Shortly before she was dismissed, Gerald Pepe, interim dean of the medical school, wrote to her and charged her with 'jeopardising the rights of children'. These rights presumably include being drugged should they dare show the usual exuberance of childhood.