Monday, May 24, 1999 Published at 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Drug to control children 'overused'
The causes of hyperactivity are thought to be biological
A disturbing aspect of drug use among the young is the deliberate prescribing of amphetamine-type drugs to them, to control their behaviour.
The number of supposedly hyperactive children being given a drug has shot up at an alarming rate, according to a United Nations report.
Treatment rates for hyperactivity in some American schools are as high as 30 to 40% of a class and children as young as one have been given the drug.
The 70-page INCB report lists drug problems worldwide, and makes recommendations on strategies for fighting abuse in regions from Asia to Europe and Africa to the Americas.
The UN wants governments in the countries where use is increasing to monitor whether it is being overdiagnosed.
He said they were taking drugs to conform with a generally desired body image, because of emotional stress, and to improve school performance.
However, they then found it difficult to refrain from abusing drugs at a later date.