Recreational use of Ritalin
June 18, 2001 3:59 PM   Subscribe

Recreational use of Ritalin is something we have known about for at least seven years. Yet many adults still find it acceptable to medicate young people, then have the gaul to respond in shock when, given the chance, many young people will opt to medicate themselves.
posted by ZachsMind (21 comments total)
Does this mean Ritalin will soon become one of the 'bad' drugs???

I always thought it was silly to label some drugs 'good' (pain relievers, antihistemines) and others 'bad' (marijuana, cocaine, LSD). They're just chemical reactions -- there's no morality there...
posted by Dirjy at 4:06 PM on June 18, 2001

Dude, I LOVE Ritalin. I used to steal it from my roommate all the time. I wouldn't have passed any of my college writing classes with out it. I never snorted or mainlined it, I just wanted to get my homework done before beer-thirty.
posted by Hackworth at 4:11 PM on June 18, 2001

zach, i think the shock is more due to the realization that people [and not just young people, but i'll get to that in a moment] are abusing a perscription drug legitimately used for managing ADHD. they're not "medicating;" it's recreational.

i agree with your assessment of the hypocrisy, tho. imagine how scared doctors are to realize that one of the most over-prescribed medications of the last ten years has become a popular way to keep the party going - they've put a massive supply of this stuff out there.

as someone who has used adderall [amphetamine-dextroamphetamine, a popular ADHD medication] as a complement to MDMA on multiple occassions, i honestly can't say i'm surprised by it's popularity. the shit works, if you're into that kind of thing. i've seen heavy abuse of this stuff, tho, and it's frightened me enough to classify it in my own "fun but dangerous" column, along with the "real" amphetamines.
posted by gangcandy at 4:25 PM on June 18, 2001

how can taking ritalin recreationally be fun? what's the buzz?

(pun intended. kill me.)
posted by jcterminal at 4:28 PM on June 18, 2001

Good or bad? Very good point, Dirjy, I question the whole concept of morality here. I just saw a tv report about this on CBS. I couldn't find a recent weblink at CBS matching the report I saw on the evening news, but a search there showed a lot of similar reports in the past. This is nothing new. It's not news.

What should be newsworthy is the fact that a large percentage of humanity worldwide has this almost obsessive need to medicate themselves in some way. Be it alcohol or tobacco or cocaine or "kiddy cocaine" what's the big diff?

Isn't life suppose to be tolerable without medication? Or should we as human beings just accept this about ourselves? You're hungry? You put food into yourself. Thirsty? You ingest liquid. Maybe the use of natrually growing herbs and man-made medicines is just part of what a human being needs to exist under certain circumstances?

There's legislation against the use of sex as recreation, when sex is a necessary requirement of procreation for the species. Why does legislation insist on keeping people from reacting to natural human impulses? We're attacking the symptoms of life's complexities when we really should be focusing on the cause. Why do people medicate themselves? And why is that illegal? God, the older I get the more I start sounding like a libertarian.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:28 PM on June 18, 2001 [1 favorite]

Gangcandy, I submit that whether the situation is scholastic or recreational, it's still medicating. If I cut my finger, I reach for a first aid kit. If I feel sick to my stomach, I buy some Pepto Bismol or something. If I'm out at a bar, and there's a cute girl there I'm trying to get the guts up to talk to, I reach for a beer. Maybe it's the WRONG thing to do, but I'm prescribing medicine for myself. I'm inducing alcohol into my body in hopes it's going to improve my mental state enough to get up the courage.

If you're a college student and you have to stay up to finish your homework, once you learn your roommate's ridilin will help you in that regard, you're gonna reach for it. This is just part of being human. So instead of passing laws telling people NO, we need to improve education so people know what to reach for when.

Ten years from now, maybe ridilin will find itself sitting in a first aid kit next to the alka seltzer.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:36 PM on June 18, 2001

speeling error. Sorry. Please substitute D's for T's in the above, where appropriate. =)
posted by ZachsMind at 4:38 PM on June 18, 2001

Antinews. It's similar to the tales of grannies selling on their temazepan stashes in Glasgow. But reminds us that the only distinction between "prescription" drugs and "hard" drugs is one of supply and usage. And it's arguable that the medical community, abetted by the hard marketing of Ritalin, has been the biggest pusher of all.
posted by holgate at 4:45 PM on June 18, 2001

Zachs: You can calm down now. The ritalin or the crank or the bad acid will only last a minute or two longer. (I know. It's the in three-thoughts-in-a-row, get-them-out-or-you'll-die thing. I'm a victim too. I also like hyphens.)
posted by raysmj at 4:53 PM on June 18, 2001

Still, a little is enough to kill you, says William Massello III, an assistant chief medical examiner in Roanoke, Va

Nice piece of doublespeak here, 'a little will kill you' but its being handed out to 1 year olds. This is just a great validation of the good/bad non-logic of drugs someone mentioned a few posts ago.

Why do people medicate themselves?

There's always the excuse because its fun or that a altered state of consciousness is prefered to the default state. More seriously though, I don't really expect mankind to adapt to its environment as quickly as that environment changes. 9-hour workdays full of artificial light, televisions and PCs churning out info, thousands of marketing messages a day trying to con you into buying, political doublespeak, etc.

The farther we go down the turnpike of the futurist the closer we get to institutionalized Soma. Why? The monkey inside is crying out in confusion from all the modern stressors. I'd say it started 40 years ago with Valium and is still strong with its modern derivatives like Xanax and Klonopin.
posted by skallas at 4:57 PM on June 18, 2001

I think the real question is why said adults are having this un-named Frenchman respond in shock FOR them...

posted by GriffX at 5:00 PM on June 18, 2001

I agree, Zach needs to tone down the rhetoric. "The gall to respond in shock"? Adults expressing concern over drug abuse is "galling" to very few people, Zach. "Shock" is also a severe overstatement of the attitudes expressed in the article.

Maybe you could make your biases a little more obvious, Zach. We have no idea where you're coming from on this one.
posted by dhartung at 5:06 PM on June 18, 2001

"tone down the rhetoric"


you are aware this metafilter, yes?
posted by gangcandy at 5:58 PM on June 18, 2001

Here's something radical for you, folks:

I've snorted ritalin.

I also have ADD. Somehow, I don't the intense concentration that most people do. Yes, I have sold to people -- mainly in trade for other drugs or favors, but occasionally for money. Most people I know do use it for study purposes: Ritalin is a simple stimulant, like speed or coke. That's all. It in no way "fixes" ADD -- it just hyper-focuses whoever uses it. You can get a huge amount of work done in a short time -- reading a novel in three hours, for instance. It's "speedy" -- it makes you hyper-alert, increases your heart rate, dries out your mouth, etc. I don't anyone who uses it recreationally alone -- either it's used as a study aid, or a "pick-me-up" for partying. It's no more addictive than caffeine pills, either -- at least, it doesn't have the potential to be. It's all in how you use it. And for those who think this is a non issue, high-pressure Ivy League schools are simply swarming in the stuff.

Unfortunately, Ritalin and Adderol ARE effective. There's no treatment that will work for all ADD/ADHD kids, and Ritalin is what's required for some of them. There's no substitute that can't be abused in the same way. Deal with it, I guess.
posted by tweebiscuit at 6:00 PM on June 18, 2001

I'd say it started 40 years ago with Valium and is still strong with its modern derivatives like Xanax and Klonopin.

Except that severe opium addiction was a regular feature of many lives in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries--a result, as here, of medications gone haywire. Does that really have much to do with Huxley's dystopia? Or does it have to do with a universal desire to escape physical and psychological suffering? Or, for that matter, with economics (addicting people to opium being, as we have known for a long time, an essential part of the international trade)? Or something else entirely? Or all of those factors? If you make a drug, people will likely find some way to abuse it, no matter what it is.
posted by thomas j wise at 6:05 PM on June 18, 2001

as someone who has tried snorting ritalin, i feel i have a responsibility to share my experience. i'm doing so because if anyone reads this and is thinking about trying it, i would like them to have some information.

first, it's a fun drug. i felt like i did when i was a child and i would go through hours of being noticeably hyper.

second, snorting anything is going to feel weird. if you are going to snort ritalin or any drug, do yourself a favour and make sure it is ground into a fine powder before you snort it. the more chunks, the more it will irritate your nose.

third, if you are trying it for a first time, there are certian steps you can allow you to experiment responsibly.

- it is crucial to never mix any drug other drugs or alcohol the first time.

- be in a comfortable environment, preferably your home, with at least one person who is not participating. by the same token, the ratio of people trying the drug to those keeping an eye out can directly affect the safety of everyone involved.

- start small, never try to "double the normal" the first time.

- research any drug you are considering experimenting with thoroughly. for ritalin, i suggest starting at the methylphenidate section at erowid.
posted by will at 6:14 PM on June 18, 2001

"hallucinations and delusions, a sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin"
I've known a lot of people that have done a lot of crazy drugs and not one of them has freaked out because they thought bugs were crawling under their skin. Especially not on ritalin!
posted by bytecode at 6:19 PM on June 18, 2001

Usually the 'bad trips' involving insect hallucinations and what not would be because the drug in question wasn't pure, and was mixed or 'cut' with icky stuff.

"Deal with it, I guess." I guess my rhetoric boils down to that. Society and government is not dealing with it. Rather, they're in a complex industry of denial. Human beings are going to medicate themselves with whatever's readily available. I happen to choose things which are legal. That's my choice. I follow the law whenever possible, despite my Chaotic Good leanings. However I'm frustrated that laws for the drug situation in this country are legislated and enforced so poorly.

Will's explanation is more palatable and logical: educate oneself before partaking and do so under controlled circumstances. In a more ideal world, there would be a modern equivalent of "opium dens" in our society, where clinically trained people would be hired to administer the drug and keep the individuals who paid to be there safe and in as positive an environment as possible. Imagine a rave lock-down with a full complement of paramedics on the scene. Police would be on hand not to shut it down, but insure no one hurt anyone else. It could be sanctioned by agencies set up to verify the safety and security of those involved. This isn't far-fetched or absurd.

I'm not saying we should sell drugs in every corner convenience store next to the Snickers bars and Mountain Dews. There should be some element of control for controlled substances, but it should involve more common sense than present laws allow. Have we not learned yet that just say no is a ludicrous and naive approach to the issue?
posted by ZachsMind at 8:02 PM on June 18, 2001

The thing that pisses me off about this is that now, if you really *do* need adderall/ritalin (and I was on adderall for a little bit myself--I have ADHD), you have to get a new written prescription EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU NEED IT. I'm not bitching at you guys, per se, since that's your business. But those that really need it aren't getting what they need, while those who just use it for a buzz have no trouble. Gah...
posted by lannie628 at 8:09 PM on June 18, 2001

How long have people been abusing Ritalin? Probably since its introduction. I had a friend in college with an extensive collection of Freak Brothers comics from the late '60s - early '70s. I remember one episode in which scoring some Ritalin was the primary plot element.
posted by gimli at 2:22 PM on June 19, 2001

You can get a huge amount of work done in a short time -- reading a novel in three hours, for instance.

People consider that "a huge amount of work"? Gadzooks...
posted by kindall at 3:58 PM on June 19, 2001

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