Ritalin is a stimulant drug. Ritalin is most frequency prescribed for the treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder, which is thought to affect as many as 5% of the youth population in the United States. Ritalin has a very high potential for abuse. A report from the DEA identifies Ritalin as one of the top 10 controlled drugs most frequently reported stolen. It is sold on the streets as Vitamin R, or R-balls. According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services, since 1990 there has been a sixfold increase in the number of estimated drug abuse emergency room visits associated with the abuse of Ritalin.
Ritalin is a stimulant drug and produces effects similar to speed in people who do not have Attention Deficit Disorder. Drug effects include:
- Rapid heart rate
- High blood pressure
There are complications that can occur from high blood pressure and the rapid heart rate including heart attack and stroke.
Chronic abuse of Ritalin can result in amphetamine psychosis, a psychotic experience complete with hallucinations.
Typical dose Ritalin when prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder is slow acting, but abusers often will take a number of pills crush them and snort them, or inject them so that the onset of the high is more rapid and intense. There are many complications that come with crushing the pills and snorting or injecting the powder. A significant percentage of the pill is made up of talc which will not be absorbed by the body. This can cause blood clots in the lungs, brain and heart, and the drug can also cause bacteria to infect and destroy the heart valves. Students are now also abusing Ritalin as a study aid because people can use it to stay up later and they report they feel better able to focus
Mixing Ritalin with other drugs and alcohol is also common and is dangerous.