-Ritalin -
"Kiddie Cocaine"

Ritalin has been around since as early as 1944, when it was first synthesized as a drug to help with chronic fatigue, depression, psychosis associated with depression, narcolepsy, and to offset the sedating effects of other medications.

1950- the drug was being improved

1954- being tested on humans.

1960s - was tried to be used to counteract the symptoms of barbiturate (sleep inducing drug) overdose

Short Term:

  • Effects are similar to the effects of amphetamines (synthetic, addictive, mood-altering drug, used illegally as a stimulant and legally as a prescription drug to treat children with ADD and adults with narcolepsy.)
  • On average, when being prescribed Ritalin, whether child or adult, they don’t receive more than 60 mg daily.
  • For those that use Ritalin for other reasons, they may take in an average of 100s of mg daily
  • They take in more as their body becomes immune to the effects in order to get that desired “high”.
  • Low Doses

o Appetite suppression

o Wakefulness

o Heightened alertness

o Euphoria

o Impairment of voluntary movement

o Headache

o Irregular or rapid heartbeat

o Nausea and vomiting

o Skin rash

o Some people may experience drowsiness

  • High Doses

o Exhilaration and excitation

o Agitation

o Muscle twitching

o Dilation of pupils

o Confusion

o Hallucinations and paranoia

o Flushing

o Increased blood pressure and pulse rate

o Dry mouth

o Vomiting

o Fever and sweating

o Delirium

o Seizures, followed by coma

o Anxiety and restlessness

o Excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks

o Formication- the sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin

Long Term:

  • Not clearly known
  • Some studies show that Ritalin suppress the body growth in height and weight, while some studies contradict this
  • Similar to those of amphetamine, anxiety and sleepiness
  • Those that intake a high does of Ritalin for a long period of time may experience a toxic state resembling a state of paranoid schizophrenia
  • When abusers take Ritalin in a state of injection, it may cause lesions (a region in an organ or tissue that has suffered damage through injury or disease, such as a wound, ulcer, abscess, tumor, etc.)

Chemical Reactions in the Brain

  • Increases the activity of dopamine (neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and important for reinforcement of behavior.)
  • Reactions are similar to those of Cocaine and Amphetamine
  • Amphetamine stimulate the release of dopamine
  • Cocaine and Ritalin block the transporters that reuptake dopamine into the neuron that release it
  • One theory about why Ritalin helps with ADHD is because is has more dopamine transporters than others

How many people in the US are affected, total number/% of population:

  • The DEA has received a research report about the use of Ritalin and college students
  • Most of the students use it to help them study, mainly those all-nighters
  • While some others use it as a party drug
  • On a survey of students at a public liberal arts college – it found that over 50% of the survey participants knew other students who had used Ritalin for fun
  • 16% used it themselves

And nearly 13% reported they themselves using Ritalin for their own use, including snorting

Treatment for Addiction:

  • Step 1: Admit the problem
  • Step 2: Detox
  • Addict goes under withdrawal with medical supervision
  • Usually takes 3 days to a week
  • Sometimes medications are given to help ease the suffering or insomnia
  • o Anti-anxiety drugs
  • o Clonidine (blood pressure drug) sometimes given to ease cravings
  • o Vitamins and a healthy diet
  • Step 3: therapy
  •   Goal of therapy is to reach new behavior skills and life skills that will help prevent relapse
  • Patients are taught one on one about their addiction