drugs for thought

HSLotsof at aol.com HSLotsof at aol.com
Sun Jul 7 01:36:57 EDT 2002

Psychotropic Drugs Overprescribed in West, According to UN Official 

LONDON (Reuters Health) Jun 24 - Doctors in developed countries are 
overprescribing potentially addictive drugs, such as antidepressants and 
sedatives, a United Nations drugs expert said on Monday. 
Dr. Hamid Ghodse, president of the UN's International Narcotics Control 
Board, said that psychotropic drugs were being used to counter social 
problems, sometimes without solid medical justification. 

"We are correcting social difficulties by medication and when such drugs are 
over-consumed, it is a great cause for concern," he told attendees at the 
annual meeting of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Cardiff. 
"Over-consumption could lead to addiction and the diversion of such drugs to 
illicit trafficking and drug abuse." 

Dr. Ghodse, who is Chair of Addiction Psychiatry at St. George's Hospital in 
London, said that in some countries as many as 25% to 35% of all patients 
were prescribed psychotropic drugs without being diagnosed with a mental 

He said that children in the US and elsewhere who are prescribed drugs for 
attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are often not ill. "While not 
wishing to deny the potential benefit of treating children with ADHD, it is 
natural to feel uneasy about the liberal use of a drug with the specific 
intention of modifying a child's behaviour such that he or she becomes more 
compliant and less troublesome," he said. "We are medicalising something that 
is often not a medical condition." 

He said inappropriate prescribing reflected cultural trends and expectations 
and the marketing practices of pharmaceutical companies. These factors, 
combined with weak regulatory systems and improper medical practice may lead 
to inappropriate and excessive consumption, he said.

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