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"That is, an ADHD diagnosis might exempt a low-achieving youth from lowering the district's overall achievement ranking"—thus ensuring that the district not incur federal sanctions for low scores.

In a study of the years between 20, the years in which the policy was rolled out, the authors looked at children between ages eight and thirteen.

By high school, even more boys are diagnosed—nearly one in five. And overall, of the children in this country who are told they suffer from attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, two thirds are on prescription drugs.

That among the 6.4 million are a significant percentage of boys who are swallowing pills every day for a disorder they don't have. Many believe that medicine should be the first treatment, either combined with behavioral therapy or not.

But on the subject of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, that is where the agreement ends. Others feel that drugs should be a last resort after making every other alleviative effort you can find or think of, from hypnosis to herbal treatments to neurofeedback.

They found that among children in many low-income areas (the districts most "targeted" by the bill), ADHD diagnoses increased from 10 percent to 15.3 percent—"a huge rise of 53 percent" in just four years.

"I don't think there's an epidemic of new cases," says Mario Saltarelli, a neurologist and the senior vice-president of clinical development at Shire, which manufactures Adderall and Vyvanse.