Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects —by W. Alexander Morton, Pharm.D., B.C.P.P. and Gwendolyn G. Stockton, Pharm.D.

«Methylphenidate is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant drug that has become the primary drug of choice in treating attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children. […]

Because cocaine is one of the most rewarding and reinforcing drugs, statements such as “Subjective effects similar to cocaine’s are produced by amphetamine, dextroamphetamine, methamphetamine, phenmetrazine, methylphenidate, and diethylpropion” can give health care providers a reference by which to judge the abuse potential of methylphenidate.

Currently, methylphenidate is controlled by the DEA by its assignment of schedule II status, which means the drug “has a high potential for abuse … and may lead to severe psychological and physical dependence.” […]

Ignorance of this potential for abuse starts early as described in a survey of school-aged children who were asked about the drug Ritalin. No child thought that this drug or other treatment for ADHD could lead to abuse. However, 16% of these children reported that they were asked to sell, give, or trade stimulant medication. Abuse has also been reported in family members.»