Ritalin is the common name for methylphenidate, a Class B controlled drug listed under the Misuse of Drugs Regulation 2001, in the same classification as amphetamines1 and cannabis2. It is abused by teens for its stimulant effects.
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. The manufacturer says it is a drug of dependency.
In June 2005, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a series of public health advisories warning that Ritalin and drugs like it may cause visual hallucinations, suicidal thoughts and psychotic behaviour, as well as aggression or violent behaviour.
One writer put it this way: “Parents are never told: ‘Oh, by the way, once in a while a child dies simply by taking their prescribed medication.’ Or ‘By the way, children on stimulant medications have twice the future rate of drug abuse.’ Or ‘By the way, one third of all children on these medications develop symptoms of obsessive-compulsive behaviour within the first year.’”