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Drugs are a ticking time bomb

At last, an article in TES warning about what may turn out to be a national scandal in years to come when the long-term effects of drugging our children are understood ("Say no to drugs advice, psychiatry experts warn", 21 September).

I retired in July, having been head of a school in a deprived area where we were often asked to determine whether children had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Research needs to be done into how many children on Ritalin are from deprived families who may need the money diagnosis brings, and who may not administer the tablets responsibly. What evidence do we have that more than half a million children will not suffer brain damage by being given a drug, closely resembling cocaine, to medicate a problem that in many ways seems to be a social one?

Pat Downes, Retired headteacher, Denbighshire.

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