The Otago Daily Times Online Edition
Carers worried by rising number of ritalin takers

Sydney: Carers had become increasingly concerned about the the number of children being prescribed the psychotropic drug ritalin, a NSW parliamentary inquiry was told yesterday.

The inquiry into the use of prescription drugs and medication for young people was hearing evidence from the Network of Community Activities, the controlling body for Out Of School Hours services in NSW.

The services include before and after-school care in 900 centres throughout NSW, providing care for more than 100,000 children aged 5 to 12 on a regular and casual basis.

NCA co-ordinator Robyn Monro Miller said increasingly workers were being asked by parents to administer ritalin to children who had been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder.

"In a previous service that I was in, operating six vacation care services, there would have been possibly 50 to 60 children out of 300 who were receiving ritalin," she said.

There was increasing concern among people who work with children that a large number of children were on prescribed drugs, particularly ritalin, she said.

Ms Monro Miller also said she was concerned that children, particularly boys, were being prescribed ritalin just because society was unwilling to tolerate normal childish behaviour.

Children on ritalin were overwhelmingly boys which society had deemed to have "challenging behaviour". - AAP

Tuesday, 19-June 2001

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