From: rkeller@netaxs.com (Rod Keller)
Newsgroups: alt.religion.scientology
Subject: Re: ritalin and scientologist "dr"
Date: 1 Jul 1999 11:42:02 GMT
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Roger Gonnet (secticide@worldnet.fr) wrote:
: In the wake of the Columbine massacre, CNN interviewed a medical expert who
: touted a study connecting Ritalin with violence. What CNN neglected to
: mention is that the expert, Dr. Mary Ann Block, is connected with the
: Church of Scientology -- and the "study" was hastily thrown together for
: the media. ADD Guide Bob Seay tracks down the story.
: http://add.about.com/library/weekly/aa062999.htm

Bob Seay - your About.com Guide to: Attention Deficit Disorder
Dateline: 06/29/99 

A Choreographed Campaign of Misinformation 

Or, "How Proproganda is spread, Misinformation is disseminated and how
People will exploit even the death of children in order to advance an
agenda or to sell a book." It has always been the position of ADD on
About.com that Medication is a matter of personal choice. That is still
our position. We have total respect for those parents and ADDults who
choose to deal with their ADD through the use of non-medication therapies.

It is also our position that all news should be reported in a fair and
accurate manner.  When the story broke that TJ Soloman had taken Ritalin -
Ritalin and the Conyers, Georgia school shooting, we had it on the website
before Time magazine even had the hardcopy edition of it on the newsstand.
We were among the first to spread the news of the Problems with Pemoline,
a story about liver toxicity and Cylert.

Unlike many other "Pro-ADD Websites", we carry pages from Parents Against
Ritalin and an entire list of Articles from people who think ADD/ADHD is a

It is in that same spirit of freedom to make personal health care choices
and the public's right to have the information necessary to make such
choices that we present this story.  Barb Day didn't know what to think
when someone from the Office of the Governor of the State of Colorado
contacted her about a study linking increased school violence and the
increase in the use of ritalin. She had never heard of such a study, and
as the leader of the ADD Advocacy Group for the Denver Metro Area she
should have heard something. But the caller sounded as if there was a such
a study. It was a matter of fact. Someone had heard something about it on

In fact, the segment was on CNN several times - three times in one day, on
June 1, 1999 as part of the "Headline News"  segments and again on all of
the "For Your Health"  programs of June 5 and 6.

Barb sent me an email asking about the study. I had never heard of such a
study, and I try to make it my business to stay on top of these things.
Occassionally I miss something, but I usually find out about it sooner or
later. This was news to me. Given the amount of evidence to the contrary,
I was surprised to hear that such a study had been written.  The timing -
released on the day after the Columbine killings - seemed too ironic for

I searched Medline and all of the other databases for studies connecting
Ritalin and School Violence or Medications and School Violence and found

I started asking around in chatrooms and on Bulletin Boards. People began
to respond. "Yes", some of them said, "there was a study like that. I
heard a lady talking about it on CNN."

Well, if it was on CNN, it must be true, right? 

The lady interviewed on CNN turns out to be Dr. Mary Ann Block of The
Block Center. Dr. Block is the author of the book "No More Ritalin -
Treating ADHD Without Drugs".  Dr. Block's other book is "No More
Amoxicillin", which kind of tells you where she is coming from.

CNN arranged to interview Dr. Block. 

In the course of preparing this story, CNN also contacted CHADD. According
to Jennifer Garner, Director of Communications for CHADD, CNN felt that
they already had the "pro-medication" side of the story covered and didn't
need to talk with any of the organization's doctors or other advisors,
which include highly respected researchers such as Dr. Russell Barkley and
others. Instead, CNN contacted CHADD and asked them to provide families
that suffered through bad experiences as a result of the medication, which
CHADD was unable to do. CHADD founder, Harvey Parker, did appear on the

The producer for "For Your Health" at CNN, Dan Rutz, was out of town and
unable to return my call.

Dr. Block's credentials are not quite as impressive as those of the CHADD
Advisory Board.  She does, however, serve as a medical consultant for the
Citizen's Commission on Human Rights. Founded in 1969 by the Church of
Scientology, the CCHR defines itself as "a non-profit, public benefit
organization dedicated to exposing and eradicating criminal acts and human
rights abuses by psychiatry." The group is extremely Anti-ADD and views
the treatment and medication of ADD/ADHD people as a human rights abuse
which exists, in part, to provide income for pharmaceutical companies.
Vice President Marla Filidei told me that it is the CCHR's job to see to
it that the information - the "truth" - about the psychiatric profession
and the ADD/ADHD diagnosis in general be made public.

She also asked me if I was familiar with this topic. I told her I had a
little experience with it. I told her I wrote for About.com.

I think I neglected to mention that I am the ADD Guide. 

Vice President Filidei helped Dr. Block prepare for the CNN interview. She
was quite pleased with the CNN coverage of the story and the "ample
opportunity" CNN had given to Dr. Block to present their side of this

Basically, Dr. Block and the CCHR feel that the American Psychiatric
Association has failed to inform people that there are side effects of
ritalin and other psychotropic medications.  According to Filidei there
are about 5 million children on ritalin and almost another million using
antidepressants. Of this 6 million children, between 4%-6% experience side
effects including suicide or mania.

The Physician's Desk Reference has this to say: 

Nervousness and insomnia are the most common adverse reactions but are
usually controlled by reducing dosage and omitting the drug in the
afternoon or evening. Other reactions include hypersensitivity (including
skin rash, urticaria, fever, arthralgia, exfoliative dermatitis, erythema
multiforme with histopathological findings of necrotizing vasculitis, and
thrombocytopenic purpura); anorexia; nausea; dizziness;  palpitations;
headache; dyskinesia; drowsiness; blood pressure and pulse changes, both
up and down; tachycardia;  angina; cardiac arrhythmia; abdominal pain;
weight loss during prolonged therapy. There have been rare reports of
Tourette's syndrome. Toxic psychosis has been reported.  Although a
definite casual relationship has not been established, the following have
been reported in patients taking this drug: leukopenia and/or anemia; a
few instances of scalp hair loss. In children, loss of appetite, abdominal
pain, weight loss during prolonged therapy, insomnia, and tachycardia may
occur more frequently; however, any of the other adverse reactions listed
above may also occur.


Ritalin should be given cautiously to emotionally unstable patients, such
as those with a history of drug dependence or alcoholism, because such
patients may increase dosage on their own initiative. Chronically abusive
use can lead to marked tolerance and psychic dependence with varying
degrees of abnormal behavior. Frank psychotic episodes can occur,
especially with parenteral abuse. Careful supervision is required during
drug withdrawal, since severe depression as well as the effects of chronic
overactivity can be unmasked.  Long-term follow-up may be required because
of the patient's basic personality disturbances."

Of course, none of the above are very pleasant. However, these side
effects do not include going into schools and firing on other students as
at least 6 of the 6 million students who use these medications have done.

That would be 6 out of 6,000,000, or 1 in 1,000,000 children on

By the way, the term "parenteral" which is mentioned above means "to be
injected into the body." This is obvious abuse of the medication ritalin
as there is no indication in the literature for injection. When was the
last time you saw somebody mainlining ritalin?

Yet, research cited by Dr. Block on CNN includes a 1995 study in which
eight healthy male volunteers were administered ritalin by injection.
Their scans were then compared with those of subjects in previous studies
who had been injected with cocaine and found to be similiar. The problem
with this study is that ritalin is not intended to be injected and does
not come in an injectable form. The author of the study, Nora Volkow,
stressed that taking a stimulant orally is very different from injecting
or snorting it. Intravenous caffeine also resembles cocaine, she points

Her paper warned that similarities between cocaine and Ritalin "should not
be used as an argument against the use of methylphenidate." Neither of
these points were mentioned in the CNN piece. 

Marla Filidei talked with me about her involvment in the CNN interview and
about the "study on violence" as well. 

This "study" turns out to not be a study after all, but a report titled
"The Interim Report on Psychiatric Drugs and Children Who Kill". Ms.
Filidei put the report together the day after the Columbine Shootings in
response to media interest in the fact that Eric Harris - one of the
killers - had been taking Luvox. Also according to Filidei, the "research" 
for the report is "date coincident". The killers killed only after they
had started taking the medications. 

In other words, for Ms. Filidei, it was a simple logical deduction: These
children killed other students. These children had been prescribed
psychotropic drugs.  Therefore, the drug is the connection.

The report costs $3.00 and is available through CCHR. 

CNN is not the only media outlet that has been used by this group. Insight
Magazine, a publication of The Washington Times ran a story in their June
28, 1999 issue titled "Guns & Doses" which also tried to make a connection
between these senseless acts of violence and pshychotropic medications
such as Ritalin or Luvox.

So there we have it - an interview with an author who wants to sell a
book, a study which is actually a compilation of stories taken from
newspapers and whatever research could be found to provide some footnotes,
and somebody in the Office of the Governor of Colorado who can't tell
propaganda from research.

Freedom of Speech is a beautiful thing. 


Sidebar: Scientology vs. Psychology A long running battle

From an LA Times article, ironically dated June 29, 1990 Suits, Protests
Fuel a Campaign Against Psychiatry

"The church has spelled out the strategy in its newspaper, "Scientology

"While alerting parents and teachers to the dangers of Ritalin," the
newspaper stated, "the real target of the campaign is the psychiatric
profession itself.... And as public awareness continues to increase, we
will no doubt begin to see the blame for all drug abuse and related crime
move onto the correct target -- psychiatry."  What is "their side"? 

Rod Keller / rkeller@voicenet.com / Irresponsible Publisher
Black Hat #1 / Expert of the Toilet / CWPD Mouthpiece
The Lerma Apologist / Merchant of Chaos / Vision of Destruction
Killer Rod / OSA Patsy / Quasi-Scieno / Mental Bully