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Our Tainted Environment and Juvenile Violence: A Look to Legislators

June 2003

Citation: ELR 10436

Author: Leticia M. Diaz, Peggy Clarie

I. Introduction

In the 19th century, doctors prescribed Soothing Syrup for cranky babies. The syrup was actually laudanum, which is opium, dissolved in water. While it did quiet and calm unruly behaved children, the side effects included addiction and death.1 Currently, Soothing Syrup prescriptions are on the rise as more and more 21st century doctors prescribe psychotropic drugs to misbehaving children.

In January 2003, a study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine2 reported that the number of children and adolescents who take psychiatric drugs more than doubled from 1987 to 1996.3 To determine how frequently doctors prescribed drugs to provide relief for behavioral and emotional problems for patients under 20, researchers studied Medicaid programs in two states and one health maintenance organization.4 The study noted that the most commonly prescribed drugs were stimulants, like Ritalin, prescribed for attention deficit disorder (ADD), and anti-psychotics which assisted with mood stabilization to manage depression and aggression.5

Leticia M. Diaz is the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Barry University School of Law. She received her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law, Newark, in 1994 and her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Rutgers University, Newark, in 1988. She acknowledges the support and research contributions of her husband Harry a fellow scientist. She would like to express appreciation to Albert and Emily for their support. Peggy Clarie is a third year J.D. student at Barry University School of Law. She received her M.A. in Museum Science from Texas Tech University, Lubbock, in 1993. She would like to acknowledge the support of her husband, Steve and parents, D'Arcy and Joanne for their support in caring for her son Emmett during the research and writing of this Article. Note: research for this Article terminated on January 31, 2003.

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