Why Kids Abuse Ritalin. Essay

2042 words - 8 pages

Shane Smith4/5/03Michelle MonacoPrescription drug abuse is something that has been an issue in the United States for decades. There have been many documented cases of individuals who have become addicted to sleeping pills, painkillers, or other medications to which they were prescribed. A huge example of this occurred in the 1970s, when abuse of the drug Dexedrine became an epidemic among women when it was over prescribed as a diet aid. Performance enhancers such as Viagra and Prozac are considered to be welcome additions to people's diets in this current time when it is believed that all of life's problems can be solved by taking some sort of pill. Ritalin, a drug that is intended for use in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most controversial prescription drugs today. The difference between Ritalin and other drugs on the market is that this drug is meant to treat a disorder that is most commonly diagnosed in younger patients. ADHD, a medical condition that affects one's ability to concentrate and to maintain tasks, is considered to be the most common psychiatric disorder among school-aged children (Financial News). Because of the frequency of this condition among people in the younger age-bracket, Ritalin is being prescribed to children and teenagers in frenetically increasing amounts. The availability of this drug to young people has been the cause of concern for many parents, professionals, and government officials alike, who feel that ADHD is often over diagnosed, and that Ritalin is too easily given as treatment to individuals who may not need to be medicated, which has led to its misuse.Although there are many sides to the Ritalin controversy, there is one fact that cannot be denied: the amount of Ritalin prescribed to people in the United States has increased tremendously in recent years. "Youths High on Ritalin," an article written by Karen Goldberg Goff, and published in The Washington Times, focused on the growing problem of Ritalin use among the nation's youngsters. According to the deputy director of diversion control for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Terry Woodworth, the drug has experienced a 500 percent increase in popularity in the past ten years, with nearly eleven million prescriptions being written each year (Goff). Some people have argued that the increase in prescriptions is a positive sign, showing that more people affected by ADHD are being given the proper treatment. However, there are many people who see this increase as a sign that people are being overmedicated and that the drug is being abused.One of the most significant factors to the over prescription of Ritalin can be attributed to the diagnosis of ADHD itself. ADHD is a subjective disorder that is nearly impossible to concretely define. As explained by Mr. Woodworth, "There is no diagnostic test to say whether a child has ADHD...It really is in the eyes of the beholder to say what is normal and what isn't...

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