Ritalin  Surpasses Cocaine

By Shlomo Maital   


   Methylphenidate (brand name  Ritalin) is a psychostimulant drug approved for treatment of ADHD or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, developed by Novartis.  For some kids with ADHD it is without doubt helpful.   But the capacity of society to misuse drugs seems limitless.  Illegal Ritalin users outnumber by far those who use cocaine.  Here are some facts, published in an investigative report in the Israeli daily Haaretz:

  *  In 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 5 percent of Americans in the 18-25 age bracket were using the substances illegally. According to a study whose results were published in the online community Her Company ‏(on the Huffington Post website‏), the number of illegal users is more than the percentage that use cocaine and LSD combined.

  *  The increasing use of Ritalin is a phenomenon that is occupying American universities. The extensive research being conducted about the use of the medications we know as Ritalin, Concerta or Adderall has led them to be dubbed “study drugs” or “smart drugs.” A staggering number of college kids in the US (and elsewhere) pop Ritalin before exams.

  According to the authors of the investigative study,   :

  “The present generation, particularly adolescents and children, is constantly subject to attention and concentration disorders. Accordingly, some will argue that this generation requires Ritalin as a steady diet.    In fact, this form of disorder is built into modern life. The extensive culture of screens, working on different subjects simultaneously − which is part of almost every field − the rapid shifting from Facebook to email to news sites and so on: all this requires parallel attention. The phenomenon is well known; in fact, it’s likely that while reading this article, you started to tap your foot nervously, checked your email from time to time and possibly also looked at a newly posted Facebook status.”

    So here is the dilemma.  Modern life involves serious multitasking…multiple screens, smartphones,  computer screens, conversations, all at the same time.  This creates massive stress.  To help us deal with the stress, we pop a pill,  Ritalin.  The pill is widely available, because some kids legitimately need it.  But the rest of us? 

   What about changing the underlying causes  in our lives that make   Ritalin helpful?   The fact you can pop a pill means that fewer and fewer people will bother to think about why they need it in the first place.   

Haaretz,  “Class A drug: Affluent Israeli highschoolers are taking Ritalin without doing their homework”    By Sivan Klingbail, Shay Fogelman, Naomi Darom and Shanee Shiloh.    Jul. 20, 2013