Ritalin (methylphenidate) Drug Abuse
Ritalin (methylphenidate) is the most common drug prescribed for Attention
Deficit Disorder. Over the past five years, ADHD prescriptions have increased
over 600 percent and so has the incidence of snorting Ritalin, injecting Ritalin
and non-medical Ritalin abuse.
This is not a subject that parents want to believe pertains to their children
and hopefully it does not. But, Ritalin drug abuse is a topic that affects us
all, as a community of people who care about our next generation.
Ritalin abuse refers to snorting Ritalin, injecting Ritalin and the
non-medical use of Ritalin. What makes Ritalin abuse so insidious is that many
teens believe that Ritalin is safe for recreational use since so many younger
children take the drug.
Ritalin, often referred to by slang names "Kiddee Cocaine," "Vitamin R" or "R
Ball", is increasingly becoming the gateway drug for many adolescents. It is
easily accessible from siblings, classmates or friends and it is cheap compared
to its cocaine counterpart. For many teens, buying Ritalin is easier than buying
cigarettes or beer.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ritalin abuse increased
1,000 percent for children in the 10-14 year age group over the past decade.
Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant, similar in
nature to cocaine. When taken orally, Ritalin (methylphenidate) produces mild to
moderate stimulant to the central nervous system. However, the potency increases
when the tablets are crushed and snorted or dissolved in water for intravenous
use because the drug passes directly into the blood and body tissues instead of
first being metabolized.
Numerous medical journals report that permanent lung tissue damage can occur
from injecting crushed Ritalin. Snorting Ritalin can damage nasal tissues and
deteriorate nasal cartilage.
Ritalin abuse can cause toxic overdose reactions, psychotic episodes,
irregular heartbeat, stroke, convulsions, circulation problems and respiratory
complications, heart arrhythmia and death. While overdose death is not common,
it has happened and happening on a more frequent basis than just five years ago.
Ritalin taken as prescribed by a physician can lead to drug dependence and
tolerance. The risk of drug dependence dramatically increases with abuse.
Along with the potentially serious health risks, distributing ADHD
medications also carries serious legal risks. Dealing or distributing Ritalin is
a felony drug offense. The penalties increase in some states of distributed near
school grounds or public parks, a choice place for students to pass off their
ADHD medications, and for dealing to minors.
Drug officials report that Ritalin is the most stolen controlled drug in the
United States. Some schools have more ADHD medication on hand than do
pharmacies, without the strong security of most pharmacies and without
regulations on who can dispense this medication.
Drug and law enforcement agents are seeing an increase in Ritalin drug
dealing among middle school students and according to a University of Michigan
study, the illicit use of Ritalin as a recreational drug has doubled among high
school seniors. Ritalin is in demand on college campuses for appetite
suppression and for late-night studying.
There are several steps parents can take to prevent Ritalin abuse. The first
and most obvious is to avoid ADHD medications altogether. It seems
hypocritical that parents will tell their children to "Just Say No" to drugs and then give
their children drugs. In doing so, parents can inadvertently instill a message
that drugs fix problems.
There are healthful and effective ways of dealing with Attention Deficit
Disorder that do not include the use of high-powered stimulant medications.
here for information about effective, all-natural and non-prescription supplements for Attention
If parents do choose the medications route, they must take responsibility for
the stimulant medication that they have in the house. Parents should watch their
child take the Attention Deficit Disorder medication in the morning and evening
and hand-deliver the medication to the school nurse if the student takes
medication while at school.
Parents should count each tablet to make sure none suddenly "disappear" and
keep ADHD medications in a locked and secured place. By using these common sense
precautions, they can eliminate the availability to Ritalin and any temptations
of selling the stimulants.
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