HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.C.R. NO.

3

TWENTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2002

H.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 
   


HOUSE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

REQUESTING THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION TO JOINTLY DETERMINE WHETHER THE DIAGNOSIS OF CHILDREN WITH ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER OR ATTENTION DEFICIT HYPERACTIVITY DISORDER IN HAWAII HAS BEEN EXCESSIVE, WHETHER HAWAII'S CHILDREN ARE BEING SUBJECTED TO EXCESSIVE USE OF PSYCHIATRIC DRUGS TO MODIFY THEIR BEHAVIOR, AND TO RESEARCH, EXAMINE, AND RECOMMEND NON-DRUG ALTERNATIVES.

 

 

WHEREAS, the increasing use of drugs by adults in today's society may have a direct link to the heavy overdosing of children diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD); and

WHEREAS, there are some preliminary animal studies that suggest pre-exposure to some stimulants like amphetamine and methylphenidate sensitizes animals such that a repeated exposure late in life greatly enhances the effect of the drug; and

WHEREAS, other studies on cocaine use indicates that the more pleasurable the first experience, the more likely the individual will repeat the drug use; and

WHEREAS, today, at least 6,000,000 American children are diagnosed with some form of psychiatric disorder requiring medication; and

WHEREAS, in 1987, ADHD was added to the American Psychological Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders and within a year, the diagnosis had been given to 500,000 American children, and by 1997, the figure had reached 4,400,000 children; and

WHEREAS, among the symptoms indicative of ADHD are descriptions such as, "has difficulty playing quietly," "often talks excessively," "often loses things," "is easily distracted," "has difficulty awaiting turns in games," "blurts out answers to questions," and "has difficulty following instructions"; and

WHEREAS, the problem is not limited to the United States as evidenced by the growth in the number of stimulant drug prescriptions given to British children, which increased from 3,500 in 1993 to 126,000 in 1998; and

WHEREAS, the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board has been prompted to ask authorities to investigate this child-drugging phenomenon; and

WHEREAS, in certain other countries such as Japan and China, compared to the overwhelming numbers of American children diagnosed with either ADD or ADHD, this type of diagnosis is not nearly as prevalent in children of comparable ages and there is certainly no comparable widespread administration of psychotropic drugs to children; and

WHEREAS, it should not be surprising that, in technologically-oriented western cultures where the scientific method is a hallowed tradition, society has resorted to objectifying certain complex childhood behaviors that are troubling, but perhaps temporary, by conveniently categorizing and labeling them as a medical disorder for which there is a simple pharmacological solution; and

WHEREAS, it is well-known that as children naturally progress through the various stages of physical, social, emotional, and psychological maturation, and in the process of learning and internalizing appropriate individual and societal norms, their behavior may at times be erratic and may appear extreme to adults; and

WHEREAS, succumbing to the promise of a convenient and scientific cure, society and educators have acquiesced to the drugging of children identified and defined as having a bona fide mental disorder; and

WHEREAS, subscribing to the ADHD doctrine not only allows educators and parents to absolve themselves and the child from moral culpability for the consequences of the behaviors, but also excuses educators and parents from searching for genuine solutions to a complex problem in which physical, social, emotional, psychological, and maturational factors all play an intricate part; and

WHEREAS, on the other hand, parents who assume responsibility to help their children are often threatened with the removal of their children from school unless their children receive some form of psychiatric medication to modify their behavior; and

WHEREAS, various jurisdictions in America and around the world have proposed using alternative means to address behavioral, attention, and learning difficulties such as in Sweden, where it was proposed that all health and medical personnel be educated on alternative, natural methods of treating children who display hyperactive behavior, and in Colorado, where the State Board of Education called for teachers to use academic rather than drug solutions; and

WHEREAS, although it is undeniable that certain children have difficulty paying attention, have difficulty learning, and display hyperactive behavior, the all too ready diagnosis of a mental disorder, accompanied by the use of powerful psychiatric drugs, is inappropriate for such a great number of children; and

WHEREAS, in Hawaii, it is possible for any child diagnosed with ADD or ADHD to qualify for special education benefits under the Felix v. Cayetano consent decree, further adding to the already costly burden of expenditures for children in this class; and

WHEREAS, rather than mistreating our children by over-drugging them, and spending enormous amounts in doing so, it is more appropriate to reallocate these resources for alternative methods to address the problem such as constructing playgrounds and parks and by providing other productive programs and activities for children to work off their excess youthful energy; and

WHEREAS, the Department of Health (DOH) and Department of Education (DOE) complied with the requests of S.C.R. No. 92, S.D. 1, Regular Session 2001, in providing a report to the Legislature on Matters Relating to Children that may contain information pertaining to children with ADD or ADHD; now, therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Twenty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2002, the Senate concurring, that the DOH and DOE are jointly requested to supplement the report requested in S.C.R. No. 92, S.D. 1, Regular Session 2001, by determining whether the diagnosis of children with ADD or ADHD in Hawaii has been excessive, and whether Hawaii's children are being subjected to excessive use of psychiatric drugs to modify their behavior; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the DOH and DOE are further jointly requested to research and examine non-drug alternatives for children who have difficulty paying attention, have difficulty learning, and display hyperactive behavior, including reallocation of resources to non-drug programs of social, recreational, educational, athletic, artistic, and cultural activities; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the DOH and DOE are requested to submit a report of their findings and recommendations, including any necessary proposed legislation, to the Governor and the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2020; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Director of Health and the Superintendent of Education.

Report Title:

Attention Deficit Disorder; Diagnosis