But Hughes says that prescribing the drug to people without ADHD "does people with ADHD a huge disservice. It reflects poorly on the people who really need these medications."
"We're seriously concerned that any physician would prescribe ADHD medication to someone they didn't deem had the disorder," she says. "That takes my breath away. I'm not sure what to say about that. It isn't a good medical practice."
Schwarz says that Anderson is a doctor who cares about his patients, and that "the point of the story was to show that different doctors have different approaches to assessing the disorder."
"It's quite clear that the line between who has ADHD and who is taking medication for ADHD without meeting criteria for the disorder has become dangerously blurred," he says. "The point behind these two stories and any future ones was to separate those two groups and to preserve respect for the very real disorder and the very real struggles by removing or by pointing out groups that are diluting their ranks."
Studies have shown that an increase in class size leads to an increase in the number of children diagnosed with ADHD, so Anderson says it makes sense that many students in his county, which he says is generally poor and has overcrowded schools, have ADHD.
"The world has decided we'll have to adjust the patient and not adjust the patient's environment … we as a society haven't come out and said 'Hey, we're making this worse with the classroom sizes,'" he says. "You don't have to be a quantum mechanics instructor to know that if you make an environment more difficult, complicated, and distracting, you're going to have an increase in this problem."
It's a point Colbert summed up Wednesday in his own manner: "The point is that students thrive when they get personal attention. Since we can't afford all the teachers it takes to give them that attention, we'll give them a pill that helps them pay attention," he joked. "I just hope they don't pay attention to how little attention we're giving them."
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Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.