Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - March 27, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
8 t i 1 1 l| 1 I I I i I k 1 i ",'5 5 Soft drugs can be aid say doctors TORONTO (CP) - "Speed kills," say the posters. It also calms down unruly school children and is being used increasingly by physicians and parents for that purpose. Amphetamines and amphetamine - like drugs are the same "speed" that drug abuse campaigns warn against. Overuse can cause progressive mental and physical deterioration and sometimes death. In adults, amphetamines act as powerful antidepressants, stimulants and energizers. The same drugs have the opposite effect on children until about the age of 12: they are soothing and pacifying and can often transform a rowdy student into a well-behaved one within week. Medical science still can't say why. Dr. Augusta Rheban of the Hospital for Sick Children's learning clinic, who has recommended speed for 70 children in the last two years, says: "In most cases, it restored peace to the home and classroom." Prescribes drugs Dr. Lawrence Rodgers, a North Toronto pediatrician, says he has prescribed amphetamine drugs for more than 200 children in four years. "I've had wonderful results," he said. "And there appears to be little danger that the children will be booked on speed in the future." The children being treated regularly with speed under medical supervision are those noisy, aggressive, hyperactive ones who keep their classrooms and homes in an uproar. A commission on emotional and learning disorders in children reported last July that about 1 million Canadian children have learning disabilities. Their handicaps may be emotional, mental or physical, but many of them have these traits in common: They can't concentrate for more than a few minutes at a time and they have to keep moving as though they can't turn their motors off. Jeff Hainsworth, 9, son of Burlington, Ont., pharmacist Richard Hainsworth, has been on methylphenidate (the trade name is Ritalin) for the last four years. Had handicap Jeff has a perceptual handicap: He can't calculate distance and space accurately. During his first years at school, be.was so angry and frustrated he couldn't sit still. At home he would smash things. "Have you ever considered what it's like living with a hyperactive child?" said his father. "My wife and I could seldom go out in the evening because lib babysitter would stay with,Jeff. Our marriage was under a constant strain. We felt guilty, wondering what we had done wrong. And our other children suffered: They didn't get enough attention." The Hainsworth; s balked when a specialist in Toronto first suggested drug therapy. Later they changed their minds. "And we're glad we did," Mr. Hainsworth said. "Jeff now is in Grade 3 and doing well. He can concentrate on his studies; he plays hockey; he does all the things other kids his age do." Jeff takes 20 milligrams of methylpbenidate, to pill form, three times a day. A "speed freak" would inject 50 times that amount into his veins each day. During weekends and on holidays, when he doesn't have to cope with classroom restrictions, Jeff's dose is cut in half. Less insomnia Methylpbenidate is one of two drugs most frequently used in treating such children. The other is dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine). Doctors usually prefer methylpbenidate because it causes less insomnia and less appetite suppression. Mrs. Grant Montgomery, whose eight-year-old triplet sons have been treated with drugs for the last year, says improvement in the children became apparent after a week. The family made the decision to use speed after the lack of peace and quiet at home began to affect Grant Montgomery's health seriously. The children couldn't even sit down long enough to watch a TV program. But some experts warn that too little is known about the effects of the drugs, especially over the long term. "Doctors who prescribe the drugs don't really know what happens to these people later on because they're no longer under their supervision," says Dr. Mary Hackney, a specialist in learning disabilities who was for seven years chief psychologist at the Hospital for Sick Children. "We have a responsibility not to contribute to the spread of the drug culture. I would prefer to treat the child who's a problem in school by other means." Controversy in U.S. Eight months ago, controversy broke out in the United States over the revelation that five to 10 per cent of all the school - age children in Omaha, Neb., were being given stimulant drugs to calm them down. Martha Norton, who conducts a special class for unruly children at West Preparatory Public School, requests that drugs not be used until she has tried her own methods of calming the child. Only one of the eight children in her class is pacified by drugs. When a child grows restless, Mrs. Norton talks quietly to him and massages his neck and shoulders. If he still can't settle down, she will suggest that he go out in the schoolyard and throw a ball around. At a recent conference on children who are classroom behavior problems held at the Hospital for Sick Children, one physician denounced the use of amphetamines as "sloppy medicine because it doesn't get to the root of the problem." One difficulty is that nobody's sure what the root of the problem is. The best the medical profession can do at present is to refer to the root cause of hyperactivity as "minimal brain dysfunction," which in plain English means "there's something wrong with the way the brain is working but we can't put our finger on it" 10,000 killed Pakistan civil war death toll mounts ACTION IN EAST PAKISTAN - Indian news sources reported fighting Saturday In Saidpur, Rangpur and Agartala. Above map shows location of the troubled areas. Education inquiry termed success By KEN POLE EDMONTON (CP) - A provincial inquiry into foreign influence in higher education ended Friday after two weeks of hearings during which it was called a "witch hunt" and an "inquisition." But Chairman Arnold F. Moir, an Edmonton lawyer, said after the final session the hearings had contributed "a lot of useful material." How the material will be used Soviet police arrest 40 protesters MOSCOW (AP) - In a stiff crackdown on dissent before next week's Communist party congress, Soviet police have arrested 40 persons who petitioned for open trials of 20 Jewish prisoners, it was learned today. Unofficial sources said two of the demonstrators-painter Yuri Titov and his wife-were sent immediately to a psychiatric asylum. The rest were charged with "hoohganism." The demonstration was started Friday afternoon at the office of the chief Soviet prosecutor, Roman Rudenko. Sources said the demonstrators arrived with their petition at 4 p.m. They were arrested .two hours later. All except Titov and his wife are Jews, the sources said. won't be known for at least a month. The seven-member committee now will sift the dozens of briefs to prepare a submission to the Alberta government. Officially titled the Committee of inquiry into non-Canadian influence in Alberta post-secondary education, the group began its hearings in Calgary March 8 and visited Lethbridge before coming here. The "witch hunt" cry was voiced earlier this week at Edmonton but it had been hinted at in Calgary and Lethbridge. At Lethbridge, Mr. Moir refused to hear the first quarter of a students' brief because he thought it irrelevant to the inquiry. The rejected section questioned the relevance of the, committee and suggested that it already was biased. ' way 3 west of Sparwood and came to rest in an old mill pond Friday morning. Mr. Osadiuk is survived by his wife and two children. A coroner's inquest has been called but not date has been set. SOVIET JEWS ARRIVE IN ISRAEL - Jews from Moscow, in Tel Aviv airport lounge after arriving from Russia via Vie largett groups of Soviet Jews to win freedom of emigration Kiev and Riga are shown nna. This was one of the from the USSR. Seen and heard About town A DREAM COME TRUE for hitch-hiking Dino Johnson as he was picked up by a lovely lady . . . Bill Skcl. ton (the radio Skelton) boasting that he thinks he can resist the growing urge to write a letter to the editor . . . Gordon Heynen, at home with the flu, getting that spring feeling as he gazed out the window at a flock of Canada geese flying over the city.