Recreational Ritalin: A Disturbing Trend 

Recreational Ritalin: A Disturbing Trend 
Posted by FoM on March 18, 2001 at 09:01:26 PT
By Carleton Kendrick
Source: San Francisco Chronicle 
They call it Vitamin K. They call it R-ball. The smart drug. That's how the prescription drug Ritalin (methylphenidate) is known on the streets and in our schools. Ritalin, the most frequently prescribed drug to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children, is diverted for illegal, non-medical needs. 
In a growing trend, some kids snort crushed tablets to get a cocaine-like rush. Or they dissolve tablets in water, "cook it" and inject it intravenously like heroin to get high. Or they swallow the tablets whole to help them stay focused and to study better. Ritalin tablets sell for 25 cents to 50 cents in pharmacies -- and from $3 to $15 on the street. How do kids who don't have a prescription get their hands on Ritalin? Easily. Currently, 3 to 4 million kids diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are taking Ritalin, an increase in prescriptions by 600 percent over the past five years. Most of these children receive their school-dispensed doses of Ritalin from non-medical school personnel (teachers, secretaries and counselors). This creates a system rife with potential abuse. It's impossible to monitor accurately. As a result, a significant portion of prescription Ritalin is passed on to other kids. My son is a college senior. He has told me, as have many other college students, that Ritalin is misused "all the time" by students in college to enhance their academic success. When it comes to absorbing and retaining material for a major test or keeping up that creative, honed-in focus on a term paper, Ritalin has become the undisputed drug of choice. According to a 1994 University of Michigan survey, "Monitoring the Future," 350,000 high school seniors admitted to abusing Ritalin, double the number who acknowledged abusing it in 1993. If data from a soon-to-be-issued Massachusetts Department of Public Health survey may be considered to take the pulse of Ritalin misuse among middle school and high school students, then our nation's youth are taking Ritalin in disturbing numbers: 4 percent of middle school students and 13 percent of 6,000 high school students anonymously reported using Ritalin illicitly. Students have found they need to increase their doses to keep a Ritalin- assisted focus while studying. Strokes, hypertension, seizures, hypothermia and several deaths have been attributed to misuse of Ritalin. Drug Enforcement Administration statistics cited 1,171 U.S. emergency room admissions due to Ritalin abuse in 1994, and that number has undoubtedly increased. We're not talking about college kids ingesting caffeine to aid in pulling an all-nighter before a chemistry final. As today's collegians will tell you, over-the-counter drugs can help them stay awake, but Ritalin helps them get better grades -- at least, that's what they believe. Why should we be surprised that competitively pressured students are drawn to the promise of Ritalin to boost their academic focus and performance? If it helped them in high school, why wouldn't its appeal be even stronger, given the increased academic demands of college? Parents, school administrators, public health officials and physicians prescribing Ritalin to children must seriously address this alarming trend. Ritalin abuse is not even on the radar screen of most states' and communities' anti-drug efforts, their focus being non-prescription drugs like marijuana, cocaine and heroin and the abuse of alcohol. It's time to give Ritalin its due. It's popular, affordable, and available. When used irresponsibly, it's dangerous. Do you know how Ritalin is distributed at your school? You owe it to your kids to find out. Carleton Kendrick is the family therapist expert for -- -- part of Learning Network. Source: San Francisco Chronicle (CA)Author: Carleton KendrickPublished: Sunday, March 18, 2001 Copyright: 2001 San Francisco ChronicleAddress: 901 Mission St., San Francisco CA 94103Contact: letters sfchronicle.comWebsite: Articles:Ecstasy, Ritalin are the New Drugs of Choice Hustlers' New Drug: Ritalin Easy To Get As Candy
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Comment #4 posted by dddd on March 19, 2001 at 00:07:54 PT
Ritalin versus Marijuana
If anyone is curious,the link should take you to an overview of Ritalin,(aka methylphenidate).Notice what is known about it,and compare it to Marijuana.,IHW|~st,8124|~r,WSIHW000|~b,*|
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Comment #3 posted by NiftySplifty on March 18, 2001 at 19:02:30 PT
Vitamin funny.
Yeah, I guess this journalist had snorted too much marijawanna.N...
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Comment #2 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on March 18, 2001 at 11:48:21 PT:
Usual Sensationalistic Garbage without Suggestions
Once again, the problem is not the drug, it is in how it is used. Fortunately, there is now a solution to the abuse issue. It is called Concerta, a time released methylphenidate (that's chemicalese for Ritalin) in the form of a paste inside a solid capsule. It is unlikely to provide any rush, and is not snortable or injectable. I am converting all my Ritalin patients to it.If this same approach were used in the manufacture of Oxycontin, it would be unlikely that the current abuse craze ever took hold.
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Comment #1 posted by Dan Hillman on March 18, 2001 at 10:42:59 PT
You didn't say "Simon Says"
> In a growing trend, some kids snort crushed tablets to get a cocaine-like rush.You're not supposed to have fun with the pills we hand out like candy, you're supposed to sit and *work*!> My son is a college senior. He has told me, as have many other college students, that Ritalin is misused "all the time" by students in college to enhance their academic success. Ooops. You're only supposed to take the pills and sit and work when we say you should take the pills and sit and work.One last thing: > They call it Vitamin K.Ritalin is not the drug called vitamin K.  We have here yet another sloppy sensationalist piece written by a nameless hack at a dying newspaper, printed and distributed as gospel.
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