Behavior drugs short-circuit the maturing process Your article gets to the heart of what has gone awry with raising children in America ("Using drugs to rein in boys," May 19). Congratulations on your courage in the face of what will undoubtedly become a hotly debated issue for the next several years.

This problem - the bio-psychiatric redefinition of childhood - is wreaking havoc with our youth and creating significant confusion in the minds of children who need help with their growth and their social/spiritual unfolding.

Substituting psychotropic medication for self-control, good parental counseling, and ethical, social, and community values is a serious mistake and is already diverting significant numbers of individuals from the kind of personal growth they must go through to successfully transition from childhood to adulthood.

David W. Hilton, Concord, N.H. Director, Office of Consumer Affairs New Hampshire Division of Behavioral Health

It is the saddest story, but I knew it already. My daughter at 18 was having some difficulty coping with a stressful situation at her father's home and was sent to a doctor, who promptly gave her an eight-week supply of Prozac. No alternative support was offered. She was to go away for the summer with her Prozac and come back feeling better! How dare they? How dare we?

Nathalie Lajarige, Oakland, Calif.

I'm one of those who view with alarm the modern practice of medicating our young people. The myth of "Attention Deficit Disorder" is pernicious and evil. We spend billions of dollars warning children about the dangers of drugs while we often require them to be medicated to continue in school. The resulting message is clear: "There is a drug for every problem."

Gerald M. Sutliff, Emeryville, Calif.

Some male cadets are no gentlemen Your May 7 article about Nancy Mace, "In a male bastion, a woman succeeds," states that "Ms. Mace underwent taunts, name-calling, and the cold uniformed shoulder of many of her male classmates." And that other female cadets complained of "sexual harassment and hazing, including having their clothes set afire."

It would appear that the Citadel and Virginia Military Institute are graduating some cadets who are not worthy of the designation "officers and gentlemen."

Donald F. Hughes, Atascadero, Calif.

Running on fumes Regarding the editorial cartoon of May 13, which depicts a gas gauge on "empty," labeled "GOP Think Tank":

Do you really think that conservatives are the ones bankrupt of ideas? I think it is rather the liberals - who have hung onto that man in the White House until the last dog was hung, who've given a known felon and otherwise disbarred lawyer work release in the highest job in the land - who are devoid of ideas.

The liberals who have done this have given up any moral or intellectual high ground that they have ever held.

Melvin A. Niska Jr. , Andover, Minn.


The May 14 Monitor credits New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson as the first sitting governor to complete the Ironman Triathlon.

This recognition should go to Frank Farrar of Britton, S.D. He was governor of South Dakota many years ago and has completed the Hawaiian Ironman Triathlon twice. The first time was in 1996. He was recently named Triathlon All-American for his age group of 65-69.

Ted Jacox, Vista, Calif.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. We can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com

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