The suburbs of cities were settled partly by people who hoped to build a future for themselves in a place free from the problems of the city. Declining schools and drug abuse are not supposed to be problems in the smaller communities within the big city’s orbit. Unfortunately, cultural conditions in many suburbs have contributed to the rise of Ritalin as a drug of abuse.
The Stimulant in the Medicine Cabinet
Ritalin is commonly prescribed in the United States to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). People with ADHD have trouble concentrating on a single topic and giving it their full attention. Ritalin is a psychostimulant that appears to help relieve these symptoms in some individuals.
Even though its chemical properties and neurological effects are similar to those of cocaine, Ritalin is generally considered to be safe when taken as prescribed. Unfortunately, the route of delivery for Ritalin can be changed to increase its potency. Those who abuse the drug may take several pills at a time. They may also crush the pills in order to extract and inject the drug. They may even insufflate (snort) the crushed powder just like cocaine. All of these variations boost the potency of the drug and its potential danger.
Inconsistent Distribution of Prescriptions
A 2001 investigation by the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper took data from the US Census Bureau and the Drug Enforcement Agency to find geographic trends in use of Ritalin. They found high rates of Ritalin use in some suburban counties and much lower rates in rural counties. For instance, in Summit County, Ohio, which is home to Akron and its suburbs, 3.6 percent of children were prescribed the drug. Less than 0.4 percent of children in the county right next door were prescribed Ritalin.
The diagnosis for ADHD can be somewhat subjective. The high rates of Ritalin prescriptions in suburban counties could be an unintended consequence of the emphasis many suburban families place upon academic achievement. They may bring children with academic performance problems to see a doctor and already have the solution of Ritalin in mind.
Prescription to Addiction
The frequent prescribing of Ritalin in suburban areas makes the drug familiar to many people. Children sometimes share or trade pills from their own prescription supply. Small drug trading rings can quickly develop in suburban schools and even colleges, which enables abuse of the drug.
However, just because it can be bought from a 12 year old doesn’t mean a drug is safe to use at high doses. Stimulant use may begin by students trying to help themselves through a difficult exam or study period. However, the euphoric effects of high doses can lead to dependence and addiction.
Most suburban areas are served by addiction treatment facilities. Finding one with counselors accustomed to treating stimulant addicts can be an advantage for Ritalin addicts.
Know Your Options for Ritalin Addiction Recovery
If you or someone you know is struggling with Ritalin addiction, call our toll-free helpline to learn more about options for treatment. Admissions specialists are available 24 hours a day, so call now.