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Victimology versus character: new perspectives on the use of stimulant drugs in children
  1. Ilina Singh
  1. Correspondence to Dr Ilina Singh, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King's College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK; ilina.singh{at}

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The VOICES study involved at least one radical move in the decades-old debates about attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) diagnosis and stimulant drug treatments: to systematically investigate young people's perspectives and experiences so that these could be included as evidence in social, ethical and policy deliberations about the benefits and risks of these interventions. The findings reported in this article were both surprising and unsurprising to us as researchers. We were surprised at the consistency of children's positive responses to stimulant medication, and at the robustness of the experience of increased capacity for moral agency with medication. We were unsurprised (having conducted prior research with young people) at the insights many young people have into their own behaviours and that of others.

I am hopeful that the perspectives of children reported in this article will inspire a fresh public conversation about the ethics of stimulant drug treatments, as well as further research with children. In order to believe that children's perspectives add something new and valuable to the social discourse, one must first view children as capable of reliably reporting their own experiences as part of a well-designed research study. It seems that Steven Rose does …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.

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