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Ritalin, "is the brand name for methylphenidate HCl, a form of speed designed by chemists to be just different enough from amphetamine for exclusive licensing by Ciba-Geigy, the drug company now known as Novartis. Ritalin use had flattened in the late 1970s after Peter Schrag and Diane Divoky published their brilliant expose, The Myth of the Hyperactive Child; but by the mid-1980s it was being pushed successfully in the schools, its use justified by a pharmacological falsehood, i.e., that it had a "paradoxical effect" on the young, calming them down. In fact Ritalin has the classic effect of speed --riveting one's attention on whatever is directly in front of one's face, and causing all the expected side-effects, such as sleeplessness, loss of appetite and increasing jitters as it wears off. Ritalin and similar stimulants are now prescribed daily for five million American kids." [1]



  • Peter Schrag and Diane Divoky, The Myth of the Hyperactive Child (Pantheon, 1975).
  • Thomas Armstrong, The Myth of the A.D.D Child: 50 Ways to Improve Your Child's Behavior and Attention Span Without Drugs, Labels, or Coercion (Plume, 1997).
  • Peter Breggin, Talking Back to Ritalin: What Doctors Aren't Telling You About Stimulants and ADHD (Perseus Books, 2001).
  • Peter Breggin, The Ritalin Fact Book: What Your Doctor Won't Tell You About ADHD and Stimulant Drugs (Perseus Books, 2002).
  • Fred A. Baughman Jr., The ADHD Fraud: How Psychiatry Makes "Patients" of Normal Children (Trafford Publishing, 2006).


Resources and articles

Related Sourcewatch articles


  1. Fred Gardner, "Steve Howe's Untold Story: From Ritalin to Cocaine", Counterpunch, May 6 / 7, 2006.