News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ritalin Abuse

Today, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported that 12.7 percent of high-schoolers in grades 9-12 have tried the drug Ritalin at least once in their lives without a prescription. Every three years the department surveys thousands of Massachusetts students about substance abuse; for this survey, for the first time, they asked about the drug Ritalin - which is widely prescribed for Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, ADD and ADHD. Robert Siegel travels to Boston and to one its suburbs, Newton, Mass., to talk with high-school students about their experiences with Ritalin. Robert also talks with substance abuse counselors, child psychologists and psychiatrists about this phenomenon. Ritalin abuse is not as alarming to the health care professionals Robert met as the rising use of ecstacy or the persistent use of marijuana and alcohol. But many said that they have concern about the overdiagnosis of ADD and ADHD, and the overprescription of the drug to treat it.

Copyright 2001 NPR