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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.

Click here for information about effective, all-natural and non-prescription supplements for Attention Deficit Disorder.

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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