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Addiction to Ritalin

Methylphenidate (MPH), most commonly known as Ritalin, ranks in the top 10 most frequently reported controlled pharmaceuticals stolen from licensed handlers.

Abuse of MPH can lead to marked tolerance and severe psychic dependence.

Organized drug trafficking groups in a number of states have utilized various schemes to obtain MPH for resale on the illicit market.

MPH is abused by diverse segments of the population, from health care professionals and children to street addicts.

A significant number of children and adolescents are diverting or abusing MPH medication intended for the treatment of ADHD.

A national high school survey (Monitoring the Future) indicated that more seniors in the U.S. abuse Ritalin than are prescribed Ritalin legitimately.

Students are giving and selling their medication to classmates who are crushing and snorting the powder like cocaine.

There has been a six-fold increase in emergency room visits associated to Ritalin abuse over the past decade, according to the Drug Abuse Warning Network, which tracks drug abuse data for federal health authorities.

Abusers of the drug say the high it creates is similar to what can be achieved with cocaine, and that parents are clueless about Ritalin’s misuse.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Ritalin is “sometimes abused however—that is, taken in higher quantities or in a different manner than prescribed, or taken by those without a prescription. Because they suppress appetite, increase wakefulness, and increase focus and attention, they are frequently abused for purposes of weight loss or performance enhancement (e.g., to help study or boost grades in school; see box). Because they may produce euphoria, these drugs are also frequently abused for recreational purposes (i.e., to get high). Euphoria from stimulants is generally produced when pills are crushed and then snorted or mixed with water and injected.”

The U.S. manufactures and consumes 5-times more MPH than the rest of the world combined.

MPH aggregate production quota has increased almost 6-fold since 1990.

Every indicator available, including scientific abuse liability studies, actual abuse, paucity of scientific studies on possible adverse effects associated with long-term use of stimulants, divergent prescribing practices of U.S. physicians, and lack of concurrent medical treatment and follow-up, urge greater caution and more restrictive use of MPH.