Ritalin dangerous," judge says


Active Member
My phone was going crazy this morning. Apparently the news hit the streets this morning with one of our more dubious newspapers, that ADHD is being overdiagnosed and that ritalin is a dangerous drug that produces criminals. One of our judges in Sydney has drawn his own conclusions, based on the number of delinquents he sees who were prescribed ritalin when younger. From this he assumes that ritalin is to blame for these kids going to the bad.

As one of our radio stations said this morning and one of the comments mentions, this is like blaming medication for blood pressure, for a stroke the patient has because the medication didn't work well enough.

And as so often happens when somebody publishes something sensationalist and gratuitous, the other media outlets have been scrambling to get their hands on the same story, if only to debunk it.

I'm left wondering if this judge is moving towards publishing a book, or aiming for a Family Court promotion, or a media spokesperson job. This smacks of sensationalist publicity for the purpose of self-promotion.

OK, I know a lot of parents do not agree with medicating their kids, but that is their choice. When people in positions of responsibility make outrageous claims from outside their area of expertise, people still believe it. That belief does a lot of harm.

A few media people were doing the right thing and burying this story. Others covered it in a balanced way, by including information from medical people with experience in this area. But there are always those who can sniff controversy and ratings in the wind.

I hope this idiotic debate stays on our side of the world, but just in case, here's a heads up.



Well-Known Member
Well, this is my take on Ritalin and all stimulants and ADHD, and it's just my opinion. I never thought of stims as potentially dangerous until my daughter abused them and told me how many teens abuse them, and which drugs they often combine them with. Also, she knows how to "fake" ADHD. Do I think it's overdiagnosed? I think it's MISdiagnosed a lot--often ADHD in my opinion is diagnosed when it's really something else, and stimulants can make certain disorders worse. I've noticed that, in other countries, RItalin seems to be the go-to medication for out of control kids and ADHD the almost exclusive diagnosis. If a place doesn't diagnose early onset bipolar, kids can be put on stims and get worse--and that can certainly cause criminal behavior. I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think Ritalin is even the go-to medication for ADHD here anymore, and ADHD is being looked at more harshly, with other disorders considered, like early onset bipolar and high functioning autism along with various other things. There are always big name people who are anti-drug and, when they speak out, some people listen. We have Tom Cruise on talk shows saying that ADHD doesn't exist and that medication is evil--hopefully people do their own research and draw their own conclusions regarding their own children. Your judge and Tom Cruise aren't in the medical profession. They should stick to their jobs, in my opinion.


Misdiagnosis is correct. I don't know about Austrailia, but there is a diagnostic manual in the US that includes wording to rule out a, b, c, d,....., before dxing xyz -- whether it's ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), etc. Unless parents demand appropriate evaluations, they don't happen as often as they should. Then, of course, you have to fight the insurance company to get them to pay.

Just what everyone needs: another high-profile individual in a community spouting off their mouth about something they have little to no knowledge of.


Well-Known Member
I'm left wondering if this judge is moving towards publishing a book, or aiming for a Family Court promotion, or a media spokesperson job. This smacks of sensationalist publicity for the purpose of self-promotion.

Good point!

MM, I know that teens abuse ritalin, but now we have to sign and give our soc. sec. #s at the drug store just to get regular decongestants--because teens abuse them.

I agree that is clearly diagnosis that is the issue. ALL drugs have the potential for abuse. Even aspirin.

It makes you wonder about the inherent wisdom of the old medicine man/woman thousands of yr ago (or even in modern-ish islands or African countries) who had total control over all herbs and made it a very, very special thing to give treatment. It went hand-in-hand with-spirituality. S/he had total access and control of all of it. That's how our MDs ended up so high up on their pedestals. Now they've been knocked down a few notches, and along with-them, the concept of drugs has changes and they are much more accesible.

There's a thesis in here somewhere... :smile:


Well-Known Member
that ritalin is a dangerous drug that produces criminals [/quote said:
That quote almost made me fall out of my chair laughing and spit my diet coke all over my monitor!

My most severe ADHD kid who was on Ritalin from age 4 to 14 is now a cop! He successfully completed a tour in the US Marine Corps as a Military Policeman reaching the rank of Corporal. He was an expert marksman and awarded the Good Conduct Medal as well as several others. I could list his accomplishments in the service but you get the picture.

Ritalin certainly didnt turn him into a criminal. LOL. Far from it. It probably gave him the focus to do well enough in school to concentrate get to the end so he could see his goal. He made it.


Well-Known Member
Yes, but aspirin isn't addictive. Stimulants are. My daughter will readily admit she was addicted to mostly ADHD stimulants. How she got them, when they are closely monitored, I'm not sure. She claims they're easy to get and that the kids (and ADULTS who abuse them) put them in pillcrushers and snort them, alone or with other drugs. I'm glad they're as controlled as possible because there IS a big abuse problem. A friend of mine, who works for Disability, says that many adults steal their kid's ADHD medications and take them!!!! If you take them correctly, it's the same as taking Valium correctly, but if you don't--you can get addicted. That doesn't mean they have no uses, but, after what my daughter has told me, I'd probably pass on stimulants for my kids. If the kid was wildly out of control, I wouldn't believe that it was just ADHD anyways and would want to explore further. JMHO


New Member
Midwest Mom - just remember, there are actually two types of attention deficit disorder - ADD and ADHD. With ADD, there is NO hyperactivity or "out of control" there, usually the opposite. The child will be looking right at the teacher, still and quiet, but his MIND will be 2000 miles away.
And, as with ANY medication, it can be mis-prescribed and/or abused. There are legitimate uses for these drugs - and just because someone chooses to misuse them doesn't mean the legitimate user should do so.

And I really REALLY hate having to buy allergy medications now!!!!!


Active Member
Technically, easy child 2/difficult child 2 is on dex for ADD, not ADHD. She and difficult child 3 have never been on ritalin; difficult child 1 has. He was on it for some years before we changed to a doctor who would treat all three. THAT is the doctor who switched difficult child 1 to dex. difficult child 1 was having problems with rebound on ritalin anyway.
A young friend of ours had the opposite problem - was started on dex but had bad rebound with it, he's now doing very well at uni on ritalin.

MWM, I know these medications are potentially addictive (ie not addictive when taken as directed - only in much larger, abuse-level dosages). At various times my older two have missed their medications. I see no withdrawal problems, especially with easy child 2/difficult child 2. She's as silly as a two bob watch without medications, but even after days she's no different or showing any signs of aggression - she just can't focus and is a ditz. Her behaviour without medications - it's like a 14 year old high on caffeine at a pyjama party.

In Australia diagnosis is fairly closely scrutinised, because the medication is VERY closely supervised. A doctor with a lot of ADHD patients has to justify this and be prepared for his case files to be independently assessed by a panel of doctors. The same with his prescribing - these drugs are subsidised by our government and they like to cut costs if they can prove a patient has been misdiagnosed. before prescribing any of these drugs to a particular patient, our doctors have to write to the government requesting permission to prescribe in this case. The dosage range is fixed at this point. Then once permission comes in, for each prescription the doctor has to telephone the HIC (Health Insurance Commission) prescription line and get authorisation. The authorisation number is written on the prescription and duplicated into the doctor's records; the patient's details, Medicare number (like Social Security number) and prescription number are given to the HIC over the phone. A prescription with repeats has to be kept at the same pharmacy and any outstanding prescriptions are immediately cancelled by the HIC when the doctor rings up. The pharmacist may not fill repeats in less than a certain number of days (fixed by HIC for each patient). The prevents stockpiling.

To medicate the child - ALL medication must be handed in to the school office. No child may self-medicate with even an aspirin. The only exception is an asthmatic child with an inhaler. Even Epipens are generally kept in the school office. Each child must then present to the school office to be medicated. Only one specified staff member may administer medication and they have to be trained for this. All medications are kept in a locked drawer with signed paperwork from both parents and doctors to go with it.

It is maybe still possible for these drugs to be abused in Australia, but far less possible than it used to be ten years ago. There are nastier drugs which are far more accessible (and therefore cheaper, for a bigger 'high') so the market for illicit stims has bottomed out.

The news today is still covering this, which makes me disappointed. I believe there is going to be yet another enquiry, which I consider a political kneejerk reaction to a highly-placed idiot speaking out of turn. All the research has been done to show that what this judge is saying, simply is not true. But looking at the comments engendered by this article in this rag of a newspaper (think -National Enquirer) there is a lot of prejudice and misinformation out there. Too may comments are saying that ADHD doesn't exist, it's just an excuse for bad parenting. Or another one - "I had a friend who took ritalin, he committed suicide in his teens therefore ritalin was the cause" - not necessarily. I know a lot of kids with ADHD get very depressed in their teens, more than the average teen. Chicken or the egg.

We have a federal election coming up at some yet-to-be-announced time in the future. As a result, electioneering is well under way and our government is doing everything it can do to be SEEN to be doing something. An enquiry into something that is already crystal clear is a waste of time and funds. Why not use the same money to look into more accurate assessments for diagnosing ADHD?

Sometimes I get so angry with our government and our media I could spit.