ADHD—or immaturity?

If the youngest child in a classroom is diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity/disorder (adhd), there is a good chance he or she actually has what was once known as “immaturity.” This is what a Taiwanese study of 400,000 students ages 4 to 17 suggests, as published in the Journal of Pediatrics (March 10).

The term adhd is often used for a collection of behavioral problems linked to poor attention span, including impulsiveness, restlessness and inability to concentrate.

Researchers found that the youngest children in classrooms were nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with adhd as the oldest. The study found that parents, teachers and doctors who suspect a child may have adhd may be forgetting their child is less mature because they are a year younger.

The study also found that as children reach the adolescent stage, the influence of their birth month has less of an impact. This is to be expected: The older a child is, the less effect an age gap has on maturity.

Studies in the United States, Canada, Spain and Sweden have found the same trends, with the respective cutoff months having the highest rates of adhd diagnosis.

The prevalence of adhd around the world ranges widely—from up to 15 percent in the U.S. to around 5 percent in European countries. Other studies have shown treatment drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta have no long-term benefits. Some neuroscientists believe the condition does not exist at all, arguing that most people will display some or all of the signs during their lifetime.

Australia’s tip of the ‘ice’-berg

Australian police seized au$1 billion worth of the drug “ice,” Australia’s Justice Department announced on February 15. Discovered in a shipment in late December, the catch was one of the biggest drug seizures in Australia’s history. Valued at approximately us$700 million, it was the world’s largest seizure of liquid methamphetamine ever, equivalent to 3.6 million individual doses of the highly addictive drug.

The drugs were discovered and tracked from Hong Kong, leading to the arrest of four men in January. But the seizure is just the tip of the iceberg.

“Methamphetamine poses by far the greatest threat to the Australian public of all illicit drug types, and by a significant margin,” said Australian Crime Commission n.s.w. State Manager Warren Gray.

Authorities are locked in a deadly war to prevent ice and other destructive illegal narcotics from hitting Australian streets. “[I]f we don’t adequately address this problem, it’s not an overstatement to say that it could bring us to our knees as a nation,” wrote Australian Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione in Australia’s Daily Telegraph (March 31, 2015).

Highly purified meth can enslave users on a single hit. While addicts often have themselves to blame for the addiction in the first place, even if they have a change of heart, few can break free; and those who do, carry the mental and physical scars.

According to the Australian Drug Foundation, 7 percent of Australians age 14 and older have tried methamphetamines one or more times. On average, young Australians between 14 and 24 try meth for the first time at 18.6 years old. Of 12-to-17-year-olds, 2.9 percent have tried amphetamines.

There is a key to winning the drug war, as Trumpet managing editor Joel Hilliker wrote June 25, 2008: “We must lead, and provide our own children with, a life worth living. Nurture their dreams and encourage their ambitions. Expose the empty, violent, seedy wasteland that is substance abuse. Give them hope and a spiritual foundation upon which to build a productive life.”