Ritalin®: Panic in the USA

Toby Miller


Abstract

 Ritalin® is a popular pharmaceutical. It keeps young people quiet and focused, but attracts intense opprobrium. Beginning with an account of the dimensions of Ritalin®’s use in the United States and controversies surrounding it, this article outlines how this might be understood in moral-panic terms and examines the role of the psy-function and various conflicts of interest, coverage in popular culture, and governmental responses. In many cases, progressive academics and activists have criticised moral panics, recuperating moral-panic folk devils as semiotic guerrillas struggling against authority. In this instance, however, the scene is too complex and multifaceted for that heroisation. There are no good guys; there is lots of panic, from all political-economic quarters. Some of it is justified—and none of it is straightforward.

Keywords

Ritalin®; moral panic; psy-function; ADHD

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