ADD skeptics remind of those who denied other health 0...

Letters to the Editor

November 25, 1998

ADD skeptics remind of those who denied other health 0) problems

Imagine being so sleepy at work that you are afraid you will fall asleep. You might drink a cup of coffee and get on. Adults with a chronic physical or chemical problem are likely to seek medical attention and may require medication.

Some children have problems of feeling lethargic or sleepy and have trouble focusing on their schoolwork. Of course, they cannot get up from a grade-school desk for coffee. Many respond by acting boisterous or distracting in other ways to stay alert. Often, these children are sent out of class or to special schools.

Some lucky ones are seen for what they are by their parents, teachers or health workers. They will get help to catch up with their peers, and doctors will prescribe Ritalin to those who need it to help them stay alert and focused. Eventually, they will become happy and productive adults.

Unlucky children -- those untreated for attention deficit disorder -- will not learn to read or work productively and will become dispirited citizens who do more harm than good to society.

But in know-nothing, rigid comments in a letter to the editor ("Maryland's low Ritalin use shows discerning parents," Nov. 20), the writer casts Ritalin as an anathema to creating a drug-free society. He asserts that "to maintain a significant percentage of our children in a perpetually drugged state is nightmarish."

The nightmare, however, is that people who know nothing about ADD dare to claim that it does not exist. They resemble people who would have claimed schizophrenia does not exist but assert that some people are possessed by the devil.

Would that more children who have ADD were diagnosed and given Ritalin so they could learn to read, focus and grow up to become good citizens.

Philip L. Marcus

Ellicott City

I am writing in reference to a letter ("Maryland's low Ritalin use shows discerning parents," Nov. 20) that included inaccurate statements such as describing young children who take Ritalin as "children in a perpetually drugged state" and parents are being hypocrites for forcing their kids to take Ritalin while telling them to stay drug-free.

My son receives Ritalin daily for attention deficit disorder, but he is not in a drug-induced state. He is monitored regularly through office visits and checklists from his teachers.

While I don't doubt that the Ritalin and other drugs can be overused, it is wrong and irresponsible for someone to make a blanket statement suggesting that parents of children with ADD are creating drug addicts.

The writer also seems to think some sort of scam is going on with the manufacturers of Ritalin. Isn't that a bit paranoid? Is one supposed to believe that parents blindly give this drug and those like it to our kids?

The writer obviously has no idea what kind of effort goes into deciding whether to put a child on medication. For our family, it has worked and has no ill effects.

Pam Thiess

Perry Hall

Figures, great and small, leaving government service

I found it extremely ironic that in the same issue of The Sun, you reported on the respective retirements from public life of two very visible people -- one a diminished leader, the other a towering figure.

The diminished leader is House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a reprimanded violator of House ethics rules and admitted liar.

The giant is Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, an intellectual superstar, a major contributor to the nation's conduct of foreign affairs and its social policy and author of 18 books.

It is sad that the retirement of Mr. Gingrich, one of the least popular people in American politics, grabbed most of the headlines and became the cover story of major newsmagazines. The contributions of a great American, Mr. Moynihan, were overlooked in the excitement. I hope, after the dust settles, that people will reflect upon the contributions of one of the last remaining greats after his departure from Washington.

Charles O. Heller

Arnold

Praising subject and idea of The Sun's Bright Lights

I wish to you commend you for your editorial regarding David Blumberg, "Giving to the community" (Nov. 15).

In Roland Park, we know Mr. Blumberg for his leadership of the Roland Park Civic League. Your readers may not realize that Roland Park has an abundance of 1960s liberals. Because Mr. Blumberg comes from the opposite end of the ideological spectrum, one might not have expected him to be able to assume command of this strong-willed community. His humor bridges this gap.

In addition, I also wish to applaud your "Bright Lights" feature. It is a refreshing change from the bleak outlook so often depicted in the news.

M. Elizabeth Murphy

Baltimore

Stories of great legal mind who mentored associates

George White, one of Maryland's great legal minds, has passed to the great courtroom in the sky ("Lawyer George W. White Jr. and wife, Elnor L. White," Nov. 20).

He was always ready to mentor younger associates.

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