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Ritalin

The parents of six year old James Patrick Smith receive a phone call

from the school guidance counselor informing them of their child’s recent

hyperactive behavior. After a short conference, the guidance counselor suggests

to the parents a solution for young James’ problem; as a result, the family

visits their family doctor and the doctor diagnoses James with Attention Deficit

Disorder (ADD) during a one hour appointment. To remedy the disorder, the doctor

prescribes the “savior drug” for ADD patients; children are almost always fed

the drug Ritalin, a prescription medicine that packs a strong euphoric punch

(Machan 151). The preceding hypothetical situation commonly occurs in the

United States at a growing rate which may be too fast for the nation to contain.

The over-prescription of the drug Ritalin to correct ADD produces many negative

side effects upon patients and society.

In the vast market of prescription drugs, Ritalin, one of the most

highly used drugs, also carries with it some of the greatest medical drawbacks.

ADD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) stands tall as America’s

number one psychiatric disorder (Hancock 52). Estimates suggest that more than

two million children live with the disorder; in addition, according to Dr.

Daniel Safer of Johns Hopkins University, over 1.3 million regularly consume

Ritalin for treatment of ADD (Hancock 52). Ritalin appears to be a popular

choice for doctors, but the daily effects of the drug, which family physicians

do not see, creates questions as to how well the drug actually works.

Scientifically know as methylphenidate, Ritalin stimulates the central nervous

system with similarities to amphetamines in the nature and extent of its

effects; furthermore, it supposedly activates the brain stem arousal system and

the cerebral cortex (Bailey 3). The key factor remains that doctors and

researchers are not sure of what precisely occurs when Ritalin invades the human

body. Hancock notes that no definite long-term studies exist to assure parents

that Ritalin does not cause more or less havoc in their child, nor does any

disease accompany prolonged usage (52). Testing results released by the Federal

Drug Administration (FDA) in February 1996, show a study of mice in which a rare

form of liver cancer arose as a result of Ritalin; however, the FDA still

regards Ritalin as “safe and effective” (Hancock 56). Offering almost as many

side effects as the number of people who take the drug, Ritalin alters many

different aspects of the body. Just a few symptoms cited by Bailey include:

nervousness, insomnia, loss of appetite, dizziness, heart palpitations,

headaches, extreme weight loss, skin rashes, possible psychotic episodes, and

severe withdrawals (3). Most physicians would not admit to being blind about

the true consequences of Ritalin, and most families never receive the needed

information to make an educated decision about Ritalin whether or not to take

the drug.

To be a potent drug with many numerous physical effects, Ritalin is not

respected by doctors who spend only a short amount of time with patients before

prescribing the “wonder drug” as treatment. Findings of a recent survey by the

Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, report that almost half of the

pediatricians surveyed said they send ADD/ADHD children home within a hour

(Hancock 52). Time appears to be on the side of the doctors which leaves

patients and their families holding a possible “time bomb” of Ritalin. With

assembly line-like characteristics, physicians turn patients in one door and out

the other without conversing with teachers, reviewing a child’s educational

level, nor doing psychological evaluations (Hancock 52). After children use all

the Ritalin given with one prescription, new prescriptions are required for

additional doses (Bailey 5). Doctors as well as pharmacies benefit monetarily

from the constant appointments to the doctor and the many prescriptions

respectively, for a drug that may be doing more harm than good. No X-ray, blood

scan, or CT scan determines who does or does not need Ritalin (Hancock 52).

Hancock states that prescribing Ritalin has become more of an art form rather

than a scientific method (52). Physicians hand out Ritalin without proper

research and examination of each individual.

Using Ritalin creates psychological changes in addition to the medical

effects which become evident. Throughout life every person loses concentration

or does not pay attention to the present situation; however, if ADD was based

upon the individual occurrences that all humans experience, then the entire

world would be diagnosed with ADD and consuming Ritalin. Citing the main

criticism of Ritalin, Hancock states the drug is simply a quick fix for children

living in an impatient world (52). “It takes more time for parents and teachers

to sit down and talk to kids; it takes less time to get a child a pill,” states

Dr. Sharon Collins, a pediatrician in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where reportedly eight

percent of the children are on Ritalin (Hancock 52). Parents many times

initiate the pursuit to obtain Ritalin with hopes that the “miracle drug” can

work to help their child achieve more. Leutwyler writes of anecdotes about

parents seek to find an ADD/ADHD diagnosis for their child so that he or she may

possibly study more intently, focus on tests, and get better overall grades (14).

Children obtain false senses of security which leads many to put trust in a

capsule or a pill and disregard individual responsibilities to work without the

aid of a drug. Stating a similar fact, Machan explains that children must learn

to be held responsible for their behavior and every physical condition cannot be

corrected by a drug (151). Russel A Barkley of the University of Massachusetts

Medical Center states that “we are giving kids medication rather than dealing

with their problems” (14). Psychological dependence upon a medication is an

addiction to something that is almost always not necessary especially when

Ritalin with its unknown effects is used a tool by impatient parents.

Ritalin creeps into society as a drug with a big name and reputation for

being widely used; in addition, the illegal side effect of abuse comes along

into the picture. Classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, Ritalin

comes under strict regulations and quotas from the federal government dictating

the amount of the drug that can be manufactured (Bailey 2). Abusing the drug

usually takes place by snorting or injecting Ritalin into the body which

stimulates cocaine-like effects along with an armful of unwanted symptoms that

invade normal biological processes (Bailey 4). Intravenous use of Ritalin as

Bailey explains, exposes the body to many dust particles and even smaller

bacteria which can attach to the needle, flow straight into the blood, and

contaminate the circulatory system (4). Snorting Ritalin, which is more common,

harms the body just as much as does intravenous abuse. Ritalin tablets contain

hydrochloride salt which produces dilute hydrochloric acid when it comes in

contact with moisture; once inside the nasal passages, the acid burns the tender

nasal tissues which controls the olfactory sense in the body (Bailey 5). The

price that some people pay to damage their bodies expresses the lack of common

sense which abusers have. In the illicit street drug market, tablets usually

cost between three to fifteen dollars for a tablet that is no larger than a tic

found in the woods in size (Bailey 2). As ADD diagnosis increases, doctors’

demand for Ritalin increases to distribute to the patient; however, due to

government restrictions on manufacturing quotas, the amount of the drug

available is limited and abuse of the drug hinders the number of pills on the

legal market (Bailey 2). Hancock alerts that one of the most common places of

illegal sell of Ritalin lies on the school yards of America; enterprising

children see the opportunity to make some money and neglect their parents’ waste

of money every time a prescription is written (56). Even government regulations

cannot control Ritalin with policemen on every playground in the United States.

Society reaps a harvest of malignant effects by the abuse of Ritalin and most

people see nothing wrong.

God has given the knowledge to researchers and developers of

pharmaceuticals to design drugs in order that people benefit from the use. If

doctors abuse the privilege to diagnose afflictions and distribute medicines,

then society will become corrupt with drugs and illegal drug sells. Physicians

must respect the privilege and give drugs to those who are medically in need of

it and not just as a pacifier. Ritalin can be a help if the proper research and

study determines what the drug actually effects and who requires the drug for

healthier living and better focus on life.Hopkins 3

The parents of six year old James Patrick Smith receive a phone call

from the school guidance counselor informing them of their child’s recent

hyperactive behavior. After a short conference, the guidance counselor suggests

to the parents a solution for young James’ problem; as a result, the family

visits their family doctor and the doctor diagnoses James with Attention Deficit

Disorder (ADD) during a one hour appointment. To remedy the disorder, the doctor

prescribes the “savior drug” for ADD patients; children are almost always fed

the drug Ritalin, a prescription medicine that packs a strong euphoric punch

(Machan 151). The preceding hypothetical situation commonly occurs in the

United States at a growing rate which may be too fast for the nation to contain.

The over-prescription of the drug Ritalin to correct ADD produces many negative

side effects upon patients and society.

In the vast market of prescription drugs, Ritalin, one of the most

highly used drugs, also carries with it some of the greatest medical drawbacks.

ADD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) stands tall as America’s

number one psychiatric disorder (Hancock 52). Estimates suggest that more than

two million children live with the disorder; in addition, according to Dr.

Daniel Safer of Johns Hopkins University, over 1.3 million regularly consume

Ritalin for treatment of ADD (Hancock 52). Ritalin appears to be a popular

choice for doctors, but the daily effects of the drug, which family physicians

do not see, creates questions as to how well the drug actually works.

Scientifically know as methylphenidate, Ritalin stimulates the central nervous

system with similarities to amphetamines in the nature and extent of its

effects; furthermore, it supposedly activates the brain stem arousal system and

the cerebral cortex (Bailey 3). The key factor remains that doctors and

researchers are not sure of what precisely occurs when Ritalin invades the human

body. Hancock notes that no definite long-term studies exist to assure parents

that Ritalin does not cause more or less havoc in their child, nor does any

disease accompany prolonged usage (52). Testing results released by the Federal

Drug Administration (FDA) in February 1996, show a study of mice in which a rare

form of liver cancer arose as a result of Ritalin; however, the FDA still

regards Ritalin as “safe and effective” (Hancock 56). Offering almost as many

side effects as the number of people who take the drug, Ritalin alters many

different aspects of the body. Just a few symptoms cited by Bailey include:

nervousness, insomnia, loss of appetite, dizziness, heart palpitations,

headaches, extreme weight loss, skin rashes, possible psychotic episodes, and

severe withdrawals (3). Most physicians would not admit to being blind about

the true consequences of Ritalin, and most families never receive the needed

information to make an educated decision about Ritalin whether or not to take

the drug.

To be a potent drug with many numerous physical effects, Ritalin is not

respected by doctors who spend only a short amount of time with patients before

prescribing the “wonder drug” as treatment. Findings of a recent survey by the

Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, report that almost half of the

pediatricians surveyed said they send ADD/ADHD children home within a hour

(Hancock 52). Time appears to be on the side of the doctors which leaves

patients and their families holding a possible “time bomb” of Ritalin. With

assembly line-like characteristics, physicians turn patients in one door and out

the other without conversing with teachers, reviewing a child’s educational

level, nor doing psychological evaluations (Hancock 52). After children use all

the Ritalin given with one prescription, new prescriptions are required for

additional doses (Bailey 5). Doctors as well as pharmacies benefit monetarily

from the constant appointments to the doctor and the many prescriptions

respectively, for a drug that may be doing more harm than good. No X-ray, blood

scan, or CT scan determines who does or does not need Ritalin (Hancock 52).

Hancock states that prescribing Ritalin has become more of an art form rather

than a scientific method (52). Physicians hand out Ritalin without proper

research and examination of each individual.

Using Ritalin creates psychological changes in addition to the medical

effects which become evident. Throughout life every person loses concentration

or does not pay attention to the present situation; however, if ADD was based

upon the individual occurrences that all humans experience, then the entire

world would be diagnosed with ADD and consuming Ritalin. Citing the main

criticism of Ritalin, Hancock states the drug is simply a quick fix for children

living in an impatient world (52). “It takes more time for parents and teachers

to sit down and talk to kids; it takes less time to get a child a pill,” states

Dr. Sharon Collins, a pediatrician in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where reportedly eight

percent of the children are on Ritalin (Hancock 52). Parents many times

initiate the pursuit to obtain Ritalin with hopes that the “miracle drug” can

work to help their child achieve more. Leutwyler writes of anecdotes about

parents seek to find an ADD/ADHD diagnosis for their child so that he or she may

possibly study more intently, focus on tests, and get better overall grades (14).

Children obtain false senses of security which leads many to put trust in a

capsule or a pill and disregard individual responsibilities to work without the

aid of a drug. Stating a similar fact, Machan explains that children must learn

to be held responsible for their behavior and every physical condition cannot be

corrected by a drug (151). Russel A Barkley of the University of Massachusetts

Medical Center states that “we are giving kids medication rather than dealing

with their problems” (14). Psychological dependence upon a medication is an

addiction to something that is almost always not necessary especially when

Ritalin with its unknown effects is used a tool by impatient parents.

Ritalin creeps into society as a drug with a big name and reputation for

being widely used; in addition, the illegal side effect of abuse comes along

into the picture. Classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, Ritalin

comes under strict regulations and quotas from the federal government dictating

the amount of the drug that can be manufactured (Bailey 2). Abusing the drug

usually takes place by snorting or injecting Ritalin into the body which

stimulates cocaine-like effects along with an armful of unwanted symptoms that

invade normal biological processes (Bailey 4). Intravenous use of Ritalin as

Bailey explains, exposes the body to many dust particles and even smaller

bacteria which can attach to the needle, flow straight into the blood, and

contaminate the circulatory system (4). Snorting Ritalin, which is more common,

harms the body just as much as does intravenous abuse. Ritalin tablets contain

hydrochloride salt which produces dilute hydrochloric acid when it comes in

contact with moisture; once inside the nasal passages, the acid burns the tender

nasal tissues which controls the olfactory sense in the body (Bailey 5). The

price that some people pay to damage their bodies expresses the lack of common

sense which abusers have. In the illicit street drug market, tablets usually

cost between three to fifteen dollars for a tablet that is no larger than a tic

found in the woods in size (Bailey 2). As ADD diagnosis increases, doctors’

demand for Ritalin increases to distribute to the patient; however, due to

government restrictions on manufacturing quotas, the amount of the drug

available is limited and abuse of the drug hinders the number of pills on the

legal market (Bailey 2). Hancock alerts that one of the most common places of

illegal sell of Ritalin lies on the school yards of America; enterprising

children see the opportunity to make some money and neglect their parents’ waste

of money every time a prescription is written (56). Even government regulations

cannot control Ritalin with policemen on every playground in the United States.

Society reaps a harvest of malignant effects by the abuse of Ritalin and most

people see nothing wrong.

God has given the knowledge to researchers and developers of

pharmaceuticals to design drugs in order that people benefit from the use. If

doctors abuse the privilege to diagnose afflictions and distribute medicines,

then society will become corrupt with drugs and illegal drug sells. Physicians

must respect the privilege and give drugs to those who are medically in need of

it and not just as a pacifier. Ritalin can be a help if the proper research and

study determines what the drug actually effects and who requires the drug for

healthier living and better focus on life.


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