'Chemical cosh' boom: Demand for ADHD drugs soars 70% in five years
By Sophie Borland
Over 12,000 prescriptions for Ritalin and similar medications written out each week
Troubled: Prescriptions for Ritalin and other drugs for ADHD have soared.
Soaring numbers of hyperactive children are being given controversial drugs to control their behaviour.
Prescriptions for Ritalin and similar medications for ADHD have risen by 70 per cent in the past five years, with more than 12,000 written out each week.
But some doctors fear that parents are simply using the drugs to sedate unruly children without knowing enough about the potential risks.
The drugs, nicknamed ‘chemical coshes’, can cause nausea, fatigue and mood swings and have also been linked to suicides.
Department of Health figures show last year 661,500 prescriptions were written out for Ritalin and similar drugs such as Concerta – up from 382,000 in 2005.
Most will have been handed out to those under the age of 19 diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, with symptoms including an inability to concentrate and restless or impulsive behaviour.
Experts say Ritalin and similar drugs contain the same chemicals as speed and cocaine.
|METHYLPHENIDATE IS INCREASINGLY BEING SNORTED AND INJECTED
In 2008, health watchdog NICE advised doctors to hand the drugs out only in the most severe cases.
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