The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Letters

January 31, 2014

Viewpoint: 3,664,879 pills equals Madison County epidemic

On Dec. 15, 2013, I wrote a Letter to the Editor asking if there was an epidemic in the over-prescription of drugs to our Madison County schoolchildren. In the Jan. 19 edition of The Herald Bulletin, it was reported that Dr. Campbell, the former medical director of the Madison County Community Health Center, had given pre-signed prescription pads to physician assistants that resulted in the prescribing of 3,664,879 pills for 3,553 patients between Jan. 1, 2009, and March 11, 2013, at both the Anderson and Elwood locations.

Dr. Campbell admitted that some part of this included the treatment of students off-site by physician assistants through the Health Center's school-based behavior health programs. The drugs being prescribed for students include Ritalin, which is a powerful drug chemically similar to the drug cocaine. It is so similar to the effects of cocaine that it is commonly used illegally by drug abusers who refer to it as "Kiddie Cocaine."

Given the use of pre-signed prescriptions and the huge quantity of pills being given out by physician assistants (who are not certified as medical doctors) I must ask the school board members in Madison County: "How can this happen? How many of your students are being drugged every day, that don't need it? Are these drugs being over-prescribed in your schools without a qualified medical diagnosis?"

To the parents of our students I say, "Don't let your children be drugged with pre-signed prescriptions from physician assistants. Make sure you see a qualified medical professional for advice before agreeing to give any drug to your children."

Everyone knows that drugs don't belong in our schools ... but I'd always thought the enemy was the drug dealer out on the street. With over 3,664,979 pills doled out in pre-signed prescriptions by physician assistants in Madison County — which include drugs for our children — I've changed my mind.

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