It comes in small pills, about the size and shape of aspirin tablets, with the word “Ciba” (the manufacturer’s name) stamped on it.
It is described as a central nervous system stimulant. However, even its manufacturer, in the drug’s package insert, admits: “The mode of action in man is not completely understood”.
Even when Ritalin is used as a prescription drug, it may have severe effects including nervousness, insomnia, anorexia, loss of appetite, pulse changes, heart problems and weight loss.
Unfortunately, Ritalin and related “hyperactivity” type drugs are easy to get, and cheap. Taken from someone’s prescription, stolen from a sibling or obtained by a fraudulent prescription, these tablets are then broadly sold. The price runs from a dollar or two in school to $20 per pill on the black market.
While the law forbids unrestricted distribution of these powerful stimulants, the sad fact remains that these substances are freely available almost anywhere.
Kiddie Cocaine, as it has been called, is handed out like candy.
Abusers grind the tablets into a powder and snort it. The drug is water soluble, making it easy to convert into a liquid which can be injected.
Ritalin is chemically similar to cocaine. In 2000, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) revealed the results of studies on both animals and humans who were given cocaine and Ritalin. The test subjects could not tell the difference.
The DEA concluded that, “They produce effects that are nearly identical”.
Just like cocaine or any other stimulant, this drug creates a nice “up feeling”, which is inevitably followed by a “crash”, a feeling of fatigue, depression and decreased alertness. And, of course, the user soon comes to know that this “crashed out” feeling can be relieved with the “help” of another pill that gets him back up again. And so it goes. A tolerance builds up and a person may turn to more potent drugs to rid himself of the unwanted conditions that prompted him to abuse the drug in the first place. The manufacturer says it is a drug of dependency.
In larger doses, Ritalin can lead to convulsions, headaches, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and psychotic behavior, as well as aggression or violent behavior. It can even lead to death, as in the many tragic cases of children who have died of heart attacks caused by damage linked to the drug.
As noted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, every tablet of Ritalin that is abused, either in its original form or ground into a powder or dissolved with water, originated from the manufacturer. None of it is manufactured on the streets.
A major factor contributing to the abuse is the huge increase in the number of prescriptions written. In the US, the number of stimulants prescriptions soared from around 5 million in 1991 to nearly 35 million in 2007.
By giving the truth about drugs anyone can help others to make informed decision to live a drug-free life. To get the facts visit www.drugfreeworld.org.
And for the person with a drug problem, there are also real solutions to addiction. Narconon, a drug rehabilitation program that utilizes the methods of L. Ron Hubbard, has a success rate of more than 75%. (www.narconon.org)