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News & Views - August, 2001 Issue 

(April 1999)  Policy Review, April & May 1999, contains an article “Why Ritalin Rules,” which reviews the culture and reasoning regarding the use of the drug Ritalin for Attention Deficit Disorder and with Hyperactivity (ADD and ADHD).  While generally skeptical, it is a good review of issues surrounding the use of Ritalin and other drugs for ADD.  At the end of the long article is a 100 question test the author says has been used to help determine if a person is ADD; the higher number of yes answers, the stronger indication of ADD.  As an experiment, four people in the Woodbury Reports office took the test, which included one Doctor of Jurisprudence, two holders of Masters degrees and one currently enrolled college student.  All have been successful in both their careers and in academics.  The scores were 29, 51, 68, and 85, which means that if these people had been tested for ADD when younger, at least three of them would have been strongly encouraged to start Ritalin to help them have a better chance at success in academics and careers.

(July 4, 2001)  The Miami Herald reported growing success for a device called the Interactive Metronome which is claimed will help hyperactive children and reported in a company-funded study that concluded it is an effective “short-term treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.”  Children are to step “onto an electronic pad in time with the computerized metronome beeping rhythmically in his headphones.”  It is touted as “the first non-drug intervention that improves human timing” which seems to help ADD, ADHD, or mild autism.

(July 17, 2001) Einstein Academy, an online public charter school will open September 11. Through a three-way partnership with startup content provider Elrn Inc., infrastructure company Vibix Corp., and the State of Pennsylvania, the school “will be open to any Pennsylvania student, but it’s drawing strong interest from kids who can’t go to or aren’t likely to succeed in a conventional classroom.”

(July 18, 2001) The Arizona Republic reported an affidavit that the 14-year-old boy in the America’s Buffalo Soldiers Re-enactors Association had “became lethargic and non-responsive” then died in a motel bathtub after he had been taken there after refusing to do what was demanded of him. “Preliminary autopsy findings also indicate that dehydration due to extreme outdoor temperatures and a lack of sufficient water may have contributed to the July 1 death of Tony Haynes, according to the court records obtained by The Associated Press.”  Previously, those who wanted to go home had been “placed out into the sun as they were viewed as quitters while the others were allowed shade.”

(July 21, 2001)  The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation reported the completion of the first conference “Saving Our Children From Drug Treatment”, sponsored by the Tribach Institute and Survivors of Harmful Treatment Programs. About 60 people attended, with the primary focus on Straight, Incorporated and spin off centers that use Straight Inc.’s allegedly confrontational and abusive tactics.  A recommendation was made that “at minimum, reformers must be able to distinguish between treatment that is harmful and even cult-like and treatment which is non-coercive and based on alternatives that uphold the dignity of patients.”

(July 26, 2001) The Associated Press reported “emergency room visits following drug use rose …to a record level last year as heroin-related visits jumped sharply and those involving ecstasy increased more than 50 percent.” Overall, statistics on the number emergency of room trips relating to drugs is the highest since the statistics first were collect in the mid-1980s. “The study found a 15 percent rise in emergency room visits related to heroin and morphine…the increase for the club drug ecstasy was 58 percent.” They also reported cocaine-related visits constituted 29 percent of all drug-related emergency room visits in 2000, “more than any other illicit substance measured.” Methamphetamine-speed was mentioned in 2 percent of drug-related emergency department visits in 2000, rising from 10,447 to 13,513. Emergency department mentions of prescriptions drugs containing oxycodone increased 68 percent from 6,429 to 10,825. One brand of oxycodone, OxyContin, has been blamed in several deaths, though it is not the only drug containing oxycodone.”

(July 31, 2001)  A study sponsored by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation and performed by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO at the Hoover Institution of Houston teachers found that “Bright college graduates who become teachers through the Teach for America (TFA) program perform as well or better than other teachers hired by the Houston Independent School District…This study shows that you don’t have to undergo years of training in a school of education to be a satisfactory teacher.”

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