A study supported by the US National Institute on Drug Abuse found that users of Ritalin and similar drugs “showed the highest percentage of cocaine abuse.”
Because a tolerance builds up, abuse of Ritalin can lead users to consume stronger drugs to achieve the same high. When the effects start to wear off, the 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.
Ritalin itself does not lead the person to other drugs: people take drugs to get rid of unwanted situations or feelings. The drug masks the problem for a time (while the user is high). When the “high” fades, the problem, unwanted condition or situation returns more intensely than before. The user may then turn to stronger drugs since Ritalin no longer “works.”
A study of 500 students over a period of twenty years found those who used Ritalin and related drugs had a greater likelihood of using cocaine and other stimulants later in life.
According to a 2005 study, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twelve times likelier to use heroin, fifteen times likelier to use Ecstasy and twenty times likelier to use cocaine, compared to teens who do not abuse such drugs.