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Lawrence Diller, M.D.
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Lawrence Diller practices behavioral/developmental pediatrics in Walnut Creek California and is on the clinical faculty of the University of California, San Francisco. His latest book is "Remembering Ritalin: A Physician and Generation Rx Reflect on Life and Psychiatric Drugs" (Perigee, 2011). He and his wife, Denise, are living and working in Melbourne, Australia from July 2015 to June 2016.

Entries by Lawrence Diller, M.D.

Homelessness and Jock Straps: Australia's Got Neither

(0) Comments | Posted November 7, 2015 | 11:57 PM

The other day I was leaving Woolies (sic?). That's the usual Australian diminutive for Woolworth's Supermarket* in Prahran about 4 blocks from our townhouse in South Yarra, Melbourne. At this moment if I were using footnotes in my Letters I would have the asterisk direct you to the bottom of...

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Halloween and Gun Control: The View from Down Under

(10) Comments | Posted October 28, 2015 | 3:10 PM

My wife and I have been living in Melbourne for the last four months and have had an opportunity to compare the differences between two very similar countries (America and Australia). Observations on Halloween and gun control policy are particularly pertinent based upon the calendar and recent events in the...

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Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed or the Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show

(3) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 1:58 PM

The Fourth of a Four-Part Series

(Read parts one, two and three)

The annual American Psychiatric Association (APA) conference is huge, attracting thousands of doctors and other professionals from around the world. When it convened in San Francisco several years ago, I decided to...

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Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed or the Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show

(3) Comments | Posted August 18, 2014 | 11:49 AM

Part Three

(Read parts one and two.)

In the late 1990s, under the guise of corporate "freedom of speech" initiatives, drug companies pressed for the right to advertise their products directly to consumers. For the previous 70 years, the FDA, whose mandate is to protect the...

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Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed or the Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show

(2) Comments | Posted August 7, 2014 | 2:12 PM

(Second of four parts: read Part one)

I never got a confirming report from my dinner-meeting colleague on Strattera. Indeed, in the ensuing years, despite a massive marketing campaign directed at both physicians and patients, Lilly failed to get Strattera approved as a first-line ADHD drug by any...

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A Witness to Corruption: The Merchants of Speed Or The Modern-Day ADHD Medicine Show

(4) Comments | Posted July 31, 2014 | 9:46 AM

During my entire 30-plus-year career as a behavioral/developmental pediatrician in private practice, I have attended only one drug company-sponsored dinner where I was paid for just showing up.

In 2003, I received a letter from Eli Lilly and Company, inviting me to hear a former Columbia...

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Coming Soon to a Neighborhood Near You: Adderall Abuse

(2) Comments | Posted April 8, 2014 | 2:51 PM

The rise of both the ADHD/ADD diagnosis and the use of stimulant drugs like Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin is once again front page news. A Centers for Disease Control (CDC) telephone survey found that nearly one in five high school boys' parents have been told their child...

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My Uneasy Marriage to Ritalin

(2) Comments | Posted December 23, 2013 | 12:44 PM

I've been uncomfortably married to Ritalin for 35 years. That's how long as a behavioral pediatrician I've been prescribing stimulant drugs like Ritalin, Adderall and Concerta to children and adults in my suburban private practice outside of San Francisco.

Prescription stimulants, which are all a version of amphetamine, have been...

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Why Not Adderall for Finals Week?

(6) Comments | Posted June 6, 2013 | 10:57 AM

Having prescribed drugs like Ritalin and Adderall to children for 35 years, I've participated with concerned fascination in the ADHD/ADD epidemic that has swept our country. Still, I was surprised that I felt so troubled when 16-year-old Joe's* mother, Susan*, called me the other day and...

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Rx for S.S.D. (Sick Society Disorder)

(3) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 1:23 PM

Shock and incredulity greeted a front-page New York Times article last week that nearly 1 in 5 American high school boys had attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The Times analysis of the most recent Center for Disease Control (CDC) survey of 76,000 households had the overall rate of ADHD...

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Is an ADHD/Adderall Ice Age Ending?

(16) Comments | Posted February 5, 2013 | 3:45 PM

"Crrraackkkkk!" was the sound I heard of the arctic ice breaking in my head as I finished reading the Sunday New York Times front-page article "Drowned in a Stream Of Prescriptions." I'm speaking metaphorically of course. But the 5,000-word Times piece on the life and death by suicide...

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The NFL's ADHD, Adderall Mess

(7) Comments | Posted December 6, 2012 | 12:44 PM

Apparently the Adderall craze that has hit America's college students is also making an impression on the professional football players in the National Football League (NFL), at least according to a news report in the sports section of the Sunday New York Times. NFL drug suspensions will hit...

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Give Me My Adderall!

(10) Comments | Posted October 10, 2012 | 1:35 PM

"Give me my Adderall!" Matthew, a 15-year-old patient of mine, recently demanded of his parents. When they refused, Matthew slashed his left wrist with a box cutter. His parents called the police and he was taken to the county hospital emergency room for evaluation and possible admission to the psychiatric...

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Getting 'It' Into the New York Times

(6) Comments | Posted August 24, 2012 | 1:40 PM

Yesterday a letter of mine was published in the print and Web editions of the New York Times. I had read an op-ed over the weekend, "Raising the Ritalin Generation," which had stimulated my letter. Click here to read the letter.


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The Homework Pill

(5) Comments | Posted June 5, 2012 | 5:00 PM

"Can you give me some Adderall that will help me get my homework done?" Joey, a 16-year-old high school sophomore asked me near the end of a meeting with his father and me. I was surprised by his request, but I shouldn't have been -- I've been prescribing drugs like...

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Psychiatric Diagnosis by the People's Choice

(8) Comments | Posted February 7, 2012 | 12:25 PM

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) plans to release the newest edition of America's psychiatric bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Edition V (DSM-V) in 2013. The last version, DSM-IV-TR, was published in 2000. The effort to determine what constitutes normal and abnormal behavior in America...

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Does America Really Have a Problem With Adderall Abuse?

(35) Comments | Posted November 22, 2011 | 3:50 PM

The year was 1971 and the use of marijuana and LSD of San Francisco's "Summer of Love" had metamorphosed into the graffiti messages on the walls of the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood that read "Speed Kills." That year, the federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (the Drug Enforcement Administration's predecessor agency)...

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A Prescription for America's ADHD Epidemic

(6) Comments | Posted October 13, 2011 | 9:20 AM

In a previous HuffPost blog I detailed America's use of prescription stimulant drugs like Adderall, Concerta and Ritalin as the highest in the world. We are 4 percent of the world's population but produce and use 88 percent of these amphetamine-like drugs primarily for the treatment of children's...

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What Could -- And Couldn't -- Be Causing America's ADHD Epidemic

(35) Comments | Posted September 29, 2011 | 9:38 AM

Two weeks ago in a HuffPost article, I wrote of the recent CDC report, which determined that now 9 percent of all children age 5 to 17 in America (about 5 million) have been noted by a health professional to "have" ADHD/ADD (attention deficit disorder with...

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The Ritalin Wars: Understanding America's Adderall Obsession

(41) Comments | Posted September 19, 2011 | 9:30 AM

I've prescribed Ritalin type drugs to children for 33 years. In the early 1990s I began feeling ethically uneasy about my professional role. I went public with my concerns in a book called "Running on Ritalin." In the process I was involuntarily enlisted into what has been called,...

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