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
After a short conference, the guidance counselor suggests to the parents a solution
young James' problem; as a result, the family visits their family doctor and the
diagnoses James with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) during a one hour
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
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
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
drugs, also carries with it some of the greatest medical drawbacks.
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) stands tall as America's number one
disorder (Hancock 52).
Estimates suggest that more than two million children live
the disorder; in addition, according to Dr. Daniel Safer of Johns Hopkins
1.3 million regularly consume Ritalin for treatment of ADD (Hancock 52).
appears to be a popular choice for doctors, but the daily effects of the drug,
physicians do not see, creates questions as to how well the drug actually works.
Scientifically know as methylphenidate, Ritalin stimulates the central nervous
with similarities to amphetamines in the nature and extent of its effects;
supposedly activates the brain stem arousal system and the cerebral cortex (Bailey
The key factor remains that doctors and researchers are not sure of what precisely
when Ritalin invades the human body.
Hancock notes that no definite long-term
exist to assure parents that Ritalin does not cause more or less havoc in their
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
Ritalin as "safe and effective" (Hancock 56).
Offering almost as many side effects
number of people who take the drug, Ritalin alters many different aspects of the
Just a few symptoms cited by Bailey include:
nervousness, insomnia, loss of
dizziness, heart palpitations, headaches, extreme weight loss, skin rashes,