New figures show a rise in the number of children being given prescriptions for drugs to treat ADHD and mental health problems.
More than 420,000 prescriptions were written for under-16s in 2007, an increase of 33% on 2005, according to figures obtained by the Conservative Party.
The number of prescriptions written for 16 to 18 year-olds increased by 51% to 40,000.
The figures also shows that prescriptions for anti-depressants and anti-psychotics are increasing.
More than 113,000 prescriptions of anti-depressants were issued to children under 16 in 2007 and nearly 108,000 to 16 to 18-year-olds.
More than 86,000 prescriptions of anti-psychotics were issued to those under 18 in 2007.
Shadow health minister, Anne Milton, said: “Increasingly, health professionals are prescribing drugs to treat child mental health problems, when evidence suggests that talking therapies can have an equal, if not better effect.”
A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “Treatment with prescribed drugs should only be started after a specialist in ADHD has thoroughly assessed the child or adolescent and confirmed the diagnosis.”