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Tony Zizza

When School Bells Ring Again, So Too Do Claims of ADHD
By Tony Zizza
Aug 18, 2008 - 1:18:08 PM

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The impending arrival of another school year is marked by several things. Cooler weather. One last dip in the pool. A rush to buy school supplies during a state wide tax free holiday. Oh, and pre-season NFL football games on the boob tube. These are all sure-fire signs that a significant change in seasons and parent-child thinking is about to happen.

Unfortunately, we're living in a vastly more "medicated" time. When school bells ring again, so too do claims of ADHD. Years ago, parents knew it was their obligation to pay attention to their kids. Nowadays, one of the ways they pay attention to them is by simply drugging them with amphetamines and over-scheduling them to the hilt. It's just a form of child abuse in my book.

But what do you expect around this time of year when it is no longer safe to clip coupons in the Sunday paper without seeing cute advertisements trying to get parents to have Vyvanse prescribed to their young children for alleged ADHD? You heard me right. I do clip coupons. I do this to save money on gas. I also inflate my tires as a matter of vehicle maintenance. Thanks, but I don't need the reminder from Barack Obama.

Getting back to the latest blockbuster drug from Shire to treat ADHD. Yes, Vyvanse is now advertised in the coupon section of your Sunday paper. Don't forget to clip coupons for children that include Cheerio's cereal, Yoplait yogurt, and Totino's pizza rolls. Oh, and Vyvanse for your very young child who has "symptoms" of ADHD. This is a me-too condition parents and insurance companies spend billions a year to placate, I mean treat.

What a disgrace. Whatever happened to the innocence of our youth? We tell them to stay clear of any alcohol until they hit twenty-one, but when they're like eight, it's OK that their book bag is equipped with a department for their ADHD drugs. Is it really now OK for Big Pharma companies like Shire to sell ADHD drugs in the Sunday paper coupon section? They claim to be "your ADHD Support Company" and have even put a trademark on that ridiculous slogan. In my view, they have no soul.

Shire has no conscious at all when they sell drugs and market such a subjective and symptom driven condition to mothers and fathers right around the start of another school year. The slick double sided coupon advertisement in this Sunday's paper for Vyvanse claims it's "Consistent symptom control for ADHD" Excuse me? Why don't they be honest? Why don't they say Vyvanse will make your little son or daughter compliant all the way from the first school bell in the morning to when it is supposedly time to gather around the dinner table?

I'm telling you this coupon advertisement for Vyvanse has got me hopping mad. The little girl in the advertisement is of course cute. She looks precocious. Just the kind of child that needs to be made compliant right? Unbelievable. As she smiles at you, in bold letters we read: "Consistent Sarah throughout the day, even at 6pm." Again, this child mind you, cannot be older than eight or nine.

Here's the kicker folks as if finding a form of child abuse in my Sunday paper grocery coupons wasn't enough. If you as a consistent mother or father go to, you can get "up to $50 off your child's first prescription."  Big Pharma tells us in their consistent flow of televisions commercials that they can assist you in paying for their (expensive me-too drugs) if you need help. Now, they can't even leave little Sarah well enough alone. Nope. She must be "consistent" from morning "through homework and family time."

This disgusting amphetamine grocery store coupon advertisement acknowledges that Sarah has a "busy day." Herein lies the problem. Our innocent little children as young as (you can insert a single digit age) are not only over-scheduled to boost the egos of their pathetic parents, but then they're drugged with amphetamines to keep up with a knowingly hectic pace that doesn't allow them to be just young and free.

I say shame on Shire US Inc for financially supporting the fraud of a "disease" that is called ADHD. Their careful marketing of "Consistent symptom control" is certainly noted. And shame on parents if they fall for this slick grocery store coupon advertisement for Vayvanse/pitch for ADHD.

Your children need your attention. So, give it to them. Even if it means skipping yet another tennis match or perhaps seeing yet another client. Don't give them amphetamines just because school bells are ringing again.

Tony Zizza is a freelance writer who lives in Hermitage, TN. He writes frequently about popular culture. Reach Zizza via email:

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