Sroufe discusses medication over-use for children with attention problems in New York Times Sunday Review
In a January 29 New York Times Sunday Review opinion piece, Ritalin Gone Wrong, L. Alan Sroufe, Professor Emeritus at the Institute of Child Development, writes: "Three million children in the country take drugs for problems in focusing.... But are these drugs really helping children?" Sroufe adds that while attention-deficit drugs like Ritalin and Adderall may seem to help children by increasing concentration in the short term, research shows that when given to children over a long period of time, these drugs do not improve school achievement or reduce behavior problems.
Sroufe has been studying children for over 40 years through a variety of projects, including the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation, and has come to understand more completely the role of environment and early experience in the development of children. Sroufe says he has had a "career-long" concern and passion about the issue of overuse of medication for children. In the article he concludes: "Finally, the illusion that children's behavior problems can be cured with drugs prevents us as a society from seeking the more complex solutions that will be necessary. Drugs get everyone—politicians, scientists, teachers and parents—off the hook. Everyone except the children, that is."
Sroufe's perspectives are also covered in a Huffington Post article, Maybe Private School Is Cheaper Than Ritalin; io9 commentary, Is it time to rethink the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder?; Wired blog, No Long-Term Benefit of ADHD Meds?; a MinnPost story, Ritalin and other drugs aren't the answer for kids with attention problems, U of M professor writes; and an appearance on the Today Show.