Ritalin Abuse
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Ritalin Abuse

Ritalin AbuseRitalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant, similar to amphetamines in the nature and duration of its effects. It is believed that it works by activating the brain stem arousal system and cortex. Pharmacologically, it works on the neurotransmitter dopamine, and in that respect resembles the stimulant characteristics of cocaine. Short-term effects can include nervousness and insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, skin rashes and itching, abdominal pain, weight loss, and digestive problems, toxic psychosis, psychotic episodes, Ritalin abuse and addiction, and severe depression upon withdrawal.

Unbeknownst to many, Ritalin is actually considered a schedule II controlled substance which means that the drug has a high potential for Ritalin abuse. Ritalin has been abused by students illegally in order to assist with concentration on exams and work. There has often been criticism of the use of Ritalin for children because many of the symptoms, such as restlessness and lack of concentration, associated with ADHD are characteristic of young children. The other major criticism is the allegation that using this medication can lead to a life of substance abuse.

Ritalin abuse is a common side-effect of Ritalin use. Ritalin is closely related to the illegal street drugs Methamphetamine, street name "crystal meth." Ironically, our society imprisons people for manufacturing drugs similar to the drugs physicians commonly prescribe to millions of children.

Adolescents given prescriptions for Ritalin often sell their Ritalin medication to schoolmates and friends who abuse the drug by crushing the tablets and snorting Ritalin powder like cocaine. Another form of Ritalin abuse is through dissolving Ritalin in water and injecting the fluid.

The pattern of Ritalin abuse and addiction is characterized by increasing dosages and frequent episodes of bingeing, followed by severe depression. Severe Ritalin side effects, including death, have been reported with Ritalin abuse.

Ritalin Abuse Statistics:

  • A DEA survey found that between 30 and 50 percent of adolescents in drug treatment centers reported Ritalin abuse – taken orally, through snorting Ritalin or injection.
  • Reports from students and faculty on college campuses also show Ritalin abuse. These reports indicate that students use Ritalin as a study aid and a party drug in the same manner that amphetamine was used on campuses in the 1960s.
  • Since 1991, prescriptions for all drugs to treat Attention Deficit Disorder have quintupled. This year about six million children - roughly one child out of every eight - will take Ritalin or other forms of ADHD medications. This is causing Ritalin abuse numbers to skyrocket.
  • An Indiana University survey of 44,000 students found that about seven percent of high school students surveyed reported Ritalin abuse – taken orally, through snorting Ritalin or injection - at least once. Of those students, 2.5 percent reported Ritalin abuse monthly or more often.
  • Ritalin abuse and addiction increased with the increase in Ritalin prescriptions. Poison control data, emergency room data and high school surveys all indicate that Ritalin abuse has increased significantly since 1990.
  • In 1990, there were 271 emergency room mentions for methylphenidate (Ritalin) in the Drug Abuse Warning Network. In 1998, there were 1,727 mentions – a sixty-fold increase - for methylphenidate (Ritalin) in the Drug Abuse Warning Network. Children between the ages of 10 and 17 accounting for 56 percent of those emergency room visits from Ritalin abuse.
  • According to the United Nations, the U.S. produces and consumes about 85 percent of the world's production of methylphenidate (Ritalin). Continued increases in the medical prescription of Ritalin can only lead to increased Ritalin abuse among children.

Ritalin Abuse
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