Essay by Anonymous UserCollege, UndergraduateA, November 1996

download word file, 6 pages 4.8

The Dark side of a Wonder Drug-A Selected Collection of Testimony on the

Safety of Ritalin

'We give our children every day, yet we punish adults for taking speed,'

stated a concerned parent(Ritalin Zone). A trip to the principal's office used

to mean big trouble. These days, more kids are showing up in the school

office just to get their midday dose of Ritalin. Ritalin, the drug used to treat

hyperactivity in children, is being seized on by a generation worried about

controlling inappropriate behavior. But some doctors think Ritalin is being

prescribed to children who are simply having trouble in school. The numbers

suggest they have good reason to worry. The number of prescriptions for

Ritalin increased four-fold from 1990 to 1995, making the stimulant one of

the most prescribed drugs in the country. No one knows exactly what's

behind the surge in Ritalin use, but experts speculate it's due to everything

from increased awareness of attention disorders in schools to teachers and

parents becoming less tolerant of unruly behavior.

Some local school offices have become virtual noon-time pharmacies. At

one Ottawa-area board of education, the number of medications dispensed to

students by office administrators has increased 20 per cent over the past 18

months. A good chunk of those pills are Ritalin. 'We always worry that we're

a half-step away from giving someone the wrong dosage,' says John Beatty,

the board's superintendent of school operations(Ritalin Boy). 'In certain

school systems there's been a teacher who has seen it work and they'll start

suggesting it as an option for all children who are acting out,' said Linda

Budd, a St. Paul, Minn., psychologist who has written the book Living With

the Active/Alert Child. 'We've got some teachers we call 'Ritalin bullies' -

he's not paying attention to me so...