Ritalin® – DEA Evaluation

U.S. Department of Justice

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section, 1995
Methylphenidate (Ritalin®)

  1. Ritalin® is a Schedule II stimulate, structurally and pharmacologically similar to amphetamines and cocaine and has the same dependency profile of cocaine and other stimulants.
  2. Ritalin® produces amphetamine and cocaine-like reinforcing effects including increased rate of euphoria and drug liking. Treatment with Ritalin® in childhood predisposes takers to cocaine’s reinforcing effects.
  3. In humans, chronic administration of Ritalin® produced tolerance and showed cross-tolerance with cocaine and amphetamines.
  4. Ritalin® is chosen over cocaine in self-administered preference studies in non-human primates.
  5. Ritalin® produces behavioral, physiological and reinforcing effects similar to amphetamines.
  6. Ritalin® substitutes for cocaine and amphetamines in scientific studies.
  7. Children medicated with Ritalin® who tried cocaine reported higher levels of drug dependence than those who had not used Ritalin®.
  8. Ritalin® abuse is neither benign or rare in occurrence and is accurately described as producing severe dependence.
  9. Sweden removed Ritalin® from its market in 1968 because of widespread abuse.
  10. More high school seniors were abusing Ritalin® than those taking it medically prescribed.
  11. Side-effects of Ritalin®:
    increased blood pressure, heart rate, respirations and temperature; appetite suppression, weight loss, growth retardation; facial tics, muscle twitching, central nervous system stimulation, euphoria, nervousness, irritability and agitation, psychotic episodes, violent behavior, paranoid delusions, hallucinations, bizarre behaviors, heart arrhythmia, palpitations and high blood pressure; tolerance and psychological dependence and death
  12. Ritalin® will affect normal children and adults the same as those with attention and behavior problems. Effectiveness of Ritalin is not diagnostic.
  13. CHADD, [a] non-profit organization which promotes the use of Ritalin®, also receives a great deal of money from the [drug’s manufacturer]. CHADD does not inform its members of the abuse problems of Ritalin®, [portraying] the drug as a benign, mild stimulant that is not associated with abuse [or] serious side-effects. Statements by CHADD are inconsistent with scientific literature.
  14. The International Narcotics Control Board [has] expressed concern that CHADD is actively lobbying for the use of Ritalin® in children.
  15. Ritalin® is one of the top ten drugs involved in drug thefts and is being abused by health professionals as well as street addicts.