Use of Ritalin and other ‘smart drugs’ has DOUBLED in last decade

Use of Ritalin and other ‘smart drugs’ has DOUBLED in last decade as Ofsted chief warns parents are trying to ‘medicate away’ children’s bad behaviour

  • Amanda Spielman said figures are worrying and warned against quick fix drugs 
  • The medication is prescribed to children with ADHD to help them concentrate 
  • There were nearly 1.5 million prescriptions for the drugs last year by the NHS  

The chief inspector of schools has accused parents of trying to ‘medicate away’ their children’s hyperactive behaviour.

Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman made the comments after it was revealed that the use of Ritalin and other ‘smart drugs’ has doubled in the past decade. 

There were nearly 1.5 million prescriptions for the drugs last year by the NHS compared with less than 700,000 ten years prior.

Parents have been accused of trying to ‘medicate away’ their child’s bad behaviour after it was revealed Ritalin and ‘smart drugs’ usage had doubled in ten years (file image)

The pills are used to make people with ADHD – attention deficit hyperactivity disorder – more focused.  

Spielman said more should be done to try address the symptoms without opting for quick-fix drugs. 


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‘The fact that it seems to have become the norm for a whole swathe of the social structure to medicate as a response to behavioural problems feels like a very big warning signal,’ she told The Times.

‘You don’t just want to try and block out the symptoms, you want to say, is there something that can be solved?’

The drugs are used to help children, who suffer from ADHD, focus and concentrate better

Other experts say parents seek a diagnosis because it reassures them that their child’s bad behaviour is caused by a condition outwith their control, and that it’s fixable. 

Critics of the drugs fear middleclass parents exaggerate their kid’s symptoms to get a prescription because they can improve focus, concentration and in turn produce better exam results. 

Ms Spielman condemned using medication for improvements in school. 

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