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Recreational Use of Ritalin on College Campuses

NCJ Number
Daniel A. Kapner
Date Published
June 2003
4 pages
This paper briefly describes the drug Ritalin and its use on college campuses, and outlines the potential affects of its abuse and recommends policies for institutions of higher education.
Ritalin, also known as methylphenidate, is a prescribed medication used as a common treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity. Over recent years, the drug has caused concern for college campuses due to its excessive abuse. Many college students use Ritalin to remain alert when cramming for tests. Ritalin can allow students to stay awake for many hours in a row and maintain abnormally high levels of concentration. This use has caused Ritalin to become one of the most abused prescription drugs. The illegal use of Ritalin can be very dangerous with effects similar to those produced by cocaine and amphetamines. This paper briefly describes the abuse of Ritalin through a discussion on the prevalence of abuse, the effects of abuse, the theft of Ritalin, and prevention strategies for higher education institutions. The strategies presented and discussed include: (1) promote alcohol and other drug-free social, recreational, and extracurricular options and public service; (2) create a social, academic, and residential environment that promotes health social norms; (3) limit availability and access to the drug; and (4) enforce campus policy and State and local laws.