Court Orders Parents to Give Child Ritalin

Pharmacy. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)
(AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

In a precedent-setting decision, a Be’er Sheva Family Court ruled that a minor child should be given Ritalin, a drug stimulant used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The court ruled that the drug should be administered as demanded by the child’s mother – but opposed by his father – “for his welfare and safety,” the court ruled.

The nine-year-old’s parents are divorced, and the child lives with his mother. According to his mother, the child was diagnosed with ADHD, and school officials recommended that he be given Ritalin. However, the drug could not be administered without the father’s agreement – and he adamantly refused, leading the mother to seek a court order in the matter.

The mother came to court equipped with a professional evaluation that suggested that the boy be given Ritalin, but the father did not produce an evaluation suggesting otherwise; instead, he claimed that the evaluation had no standing in court, as it was not court-ordered – and that as a parent, he believes that the process of administering Ritalin without his presence was “unacceptable.”

In its decision, the court said that it had to side with the spouse that presented a professional opinion. Besides ordering that the child be given Ritalin, the court also ordered that the child begin seeing a psychologist. The father is likely to appeal, sources said.

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