Incoming NRA President Oliver North Blames Ritalin for School Shootings After Santa Fe High School Shooting
On Sunday, the incoming president of the National Rifle Association blamed the issue of school shootings on a culture of violence and young, white males being “drugged.”
Retired Lt. Col. Oliver North told Fox News Sunday that “many of these young boys have been on Ritalin since they were in kindergarten.”
North’s comments came two days after the shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston. The Associated Press reported investigators do not believe the suspect, 17-year-old Dimitrios Pagourtzis, had ever taken Ritalin.
Ritalin is a stimulant commonly prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Ritalin is supposed to increase attention and focus as well as help with behavioral problems. Psychologist at Lehigh University, George DuPaul, told the AP that, if Ritalin had any effect on aggression, it would make children less aggressive.
“There’s really no evidence whatsoever that links treatment for ADHD with Ritalin and drugs like that with violence, let alone gun violence,” he said.
Twitter users have also come out to say that Ritalin hasn’t made them or people they know violent, especially to the extreme of murdering people. They also pointed out that the medication is prescribed in other countries, but other countries do not have the same issue with school shootings that the U.S. does.
I took Ritalin as a kid. I’ve never even held a gun let alone shot somebody. By stigmatizing mental health as a way to scapegoat for Sante Fe, the @NRA is creating new problems instead of solving the real one.
— Adam Best (@adamcbest) May 20, 2018
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ADHD is one of the most common neurodevelopmental disorders and affects about 5 percent of children, though other studies have found this number to be slightly higher. Among children with ADHD, 62 percent take medication for it. The CDC recommends children under the age of 6 undergo behavioral treatment and not use medication, but those over the age of 6 may benefit from a combination of both.