ADHD drugs like Ritalin are supposed to be for, well, people with ADHD, but researchers are suspecting that they are being diverted to healthy people, says Sean Parnell in an article for The Australian.
ADHD drugs to make healthy people feel smarter
The reason for this illegal diversion? To make otherwise healthy people feel smarter or more resilient. Ritalin, after all, is methylphenidate, which is a known stimulant similar in structure to amphetamines.
These people include students, and this is supported by a University of NSW study published in 2014 suggesting that about 8.5 per cent of university students had used these drugs at some point. It also wouldn’t take a stretch of the imagination to assume that these so-called ‘smart’ drugs are also being diverted to workers who want to improve their performance.
According to Parnell’s report, Ritalin was dispensed 597,047 times in 2013-14, a 16 per cent rise on the previous year. Dexamphetamine, another ADHD drug, was dispensed 249,667 times, which indicates a 10 per cent increase. The report also acknowledges that determining if doctors are inappropriately writing scripts or actual ADHD patients are allowing others to use their drugs is almost impossible.
Employers can’t do much about illegally diverted ADHD drugs, that much is clear. However, they can still protect the health and safety of their workers by implementing clear workplace drug policies. These policies should include a drug testing program, which is basically the only way to find out if a person is endangering colleagues by taking one of these ‘smart drugs’ on a regular basis.
Click here to read the full article.