Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Ritalin: The new cocaine?

Recently, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and Addiction published a study which shows that Ritalin produces similar effects on the brain as cocaine. Not really shocking, considering the high level of Ritalin abuse we've started to hear about in the last couple of years. I can remember in college when people would trade medications and use Ritalin either to stay up late to study, or to get nice and speedy before going out. The fact that it's taken almost 10 years since that time for a study to come out is a shame. Here's a quote from the lead researcher, Yong Kim: "Methylphenidate, which is thought to be a fairly innocuous compound, can have structural and biochemical effects in some regions of the brain that can be even greater than those of cocaine." Just another sneaky way to get addicted, if you ask me. Basically, this proves to me that we need to keep a better watch on what medications we give to our children, and especially if they show signs of abuse or addiction, make sure to put solutions in the hands of the parents who need them.

Here's a report from Fox News in Atlanta on students using Ritalin as a "brain steroid." Interesting stuff.

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