Ritalin Use for Healthy Individuals

by Kirby Gibbs

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Ritalin is a strictly regulated drug for overactive kids, but recent studies suggest that Ritalin may become readily avaliable for healthy people.

Hyper-active kids and seniors with memory loss may not be the only one's prescribed Ritalin in the future. Some scientists are pushing Ritalin to be made available through prescription or over the counter to those who are healthy, but want to be more alert. But doctor Paul Foster of Woodland Heights Medical Center says he's not convinced that this is a good idea.

"I think that's an extremely controversial view. I think the ethics involved with that need to be looked at" says Dr. Foster.

The Nature International Weekly Journal of Science, expresses views of scientists who believe there's nothing wrong with healthy people using enhancement drugs. Henry Greely of Stanford Law says, "Society must respond to the growing demand for cognitive enhancement. That response must start by rejecting the idea that 'enhancement' is a dirty word." Dr. Foster, however says the amphetamine Ritalin is an upper, and is basically the same thing that's been used for decades, but now it's in a manufactured form.

"It's used at parties to stay up, it's used by college students to cram for examinations" says Dr. Foster.

Dr. Foster says that even teenagers have abused Ritalin. He says about 10 to 15 percent of teens who are in drug treatment programs have used ritalin in the past.

Dr. Foster put the use of Ritalin by healthy individuals into perspective." Let's just say it's legal for all the athletes to dope because we want them all to preform at some higher level of performance? We want to see something that is super human. We're not really interested in someone who's just performing at their natural best, so why not dope everyone? The same goes for using a stimulant drug like Ritalin for the general public simply for the purposes of augmenting some state of wakefulness. I mean you're not treating an illness; you're not trying to make something wrong better. You're simply trying to take some natural state and augment that. That's not really the purpose of medications and it's really not the purpose of medicine either".

According to Dr. Foster, chronic use of Ritalin have risks which include sleep deprevation, shakes, nerveousness, malnourishment and dehydration along with changes within the brain that can develop into psychological problems. Children prescribed Ritalin are also subject to some of the same risks.