Here's two shocking statistics:
1) In 1990, just 9000 children in the UK aged 8-13 were being treated with Ritalin type drugs to try and improve their behaviour. By 1997 that figure had risen by a factor of ten to 90 000 and by 2010, 650 000 children between 8 and 13 were taking Ritalin, ie the numbers have increased by 70 times in the last twenty years.
2) An educational pschologist has said something sensible. Dave Traxson has warned that they are being over prescribed.
I'd say that Ritalin pills are being given out like Smarties. One of the things I went on about in my book was the fact that I had noticed how when any of these kids with 'behavioural problems' were given plenty of exercise outdoors for two or three days on the trot, all these 'problems' simply disappeared.
Try the following experiment:
Get up in the morning and drink two cups of tea or coffee. Now try and concentrate on something non physical like reading or writing. Chances are you feel a bit jittery, nervous and easily distracted. Now go out for a walk, run, swim or bike ride for an hour or so then return to the same task. You feel much more calm and able to concentrate.
I think that this is exactly the effect that Ritalin has. Trouble is, it's easier to give your child a pill.