The Huffington Post UK | By Charlotte Meredith
Ritalin is hitting the headlines yet again, after new figures revealed the number of drugs being dished out to ADHD sufferers has increased by 56% in just six years – sparking fears students may be buying into a new ‘smart-drug’ craze.
- Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate, is a central nervous system stimulant that affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control
- If it is snorted, swallowed in high quantities or injected, the drug can have a similar effect to using cocaine or amphetamines – and can be just as addictive.
The use of methylphenidate drugs, including Ritalin, is on the rise
- In the United Kingdom, methylphenidate is a controlled ‘Class B’ substance. Possession without prescription carries with a sentence up to five years and/or an unlimited fine, and supplying it is 14 years and/or an unlimited fine
- Street names for Ritalin include: Kibbles and bits, Kiddy cocaine, Skippy, Smarties, Vitamin R and Pineapple
- The side-effects and misuse of methylphenidate have been associated with an increased risk of aggression, hostile behaviour and psychosis
- The effects of long-term treatment on the developing brains of children with ADHD are ongoing, but there is limited data that suggests there are benefits to long-term use
- The most common side common side effects are nervousness, drowsiness, bad vision and insomnia
- More than one in 100 users can suffer from depression, hair loss and problems controlling muscle movement
- Other users can suffer from anorexia, meaning some use it as an appetite suppressant
- Some people who take the drug can subseuently suffer from Tourette’s syndrome.