|MPR News for Headlines, Weather, and Stories|
Dc: This is DCR, It's not the news. So many young students are taking the medication Ritalin, it's abuse has started to become a problem. In one case in Utah, an elementary school principal was convicted of stealing Ritalin from children and selling it on the black market. It led our reporter Bud Buck to wonder about Ritalin rings right here close to home. Here's his report.
(sfx: traffic, police radio)
Bud: Todd Efrem is an FBI agent assigned to "Project Tyke."
Todd: Ritalin is for hyperactive children who have a hard time paying attention in school. You do need a prescription. It IS a stimulant, but the correct dose seems to help children calm down and focus on their work.
But when adults start to take an interest in it... I get involved.
Bud: Agent Efrem and his team took me along one night as we planned to execute a raid on an illegal clearinghouse for the drug.
Todd: This home right here is the location of the Ritalin Den.
Bud: In this house here?
(sfx: car pulls up)
Bud: Aren't you worried that you'll... draw their attention?
Todd: (as if explaining to a child) No... this is an attention deficit drug. So if they're OFF the drug they won't be able to focus in on us, and if they're pumped FULL of Ritalin, which is what I suspect, they're probably... well, you'll see.
(sfx: doors open, close, feet on pavement)
Todd: Come on, let's go!
(sfx: door being kicked in, officer voices and hubub)
Bud: And then the flimsy door was broken in, to reveal... there in the living room... at least a dozen adult Ritalin junkies... crammed into little wooden swivel chairs mounted behind lift-top desks with shallow pencil trays at the front end. Feet on the floor. Clothes clean and neatly pressed.
Todd: FBI! Everybody FREEZE!
Group: Good Evening Mr. FBI!
Todd: You have the right to remain silent. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you. Do you understand these rights? Does anyone?
Group: Me! Me! Mememememememememememe! Pick me.
Todd: All right... you.
Sue: Yes, I understand my rights completely, and you forgot to mention that anything I say can and will be used against me in a court of law.
Group: That's right. She sure knows her stuff. Etc.
Todd: (grunt) Overachievers!
Sue: I also know the capital of Uganda!
(sfx: group hubub fade under)
Bud: Why a black market in Ritalin? I asked Samanatha Ridgely, a caseworker for the county Attention Services Administration.
Samantha: Well... I... uh... hang on. Are you my two o'clock appointment? Connie Chung?
Bud: No, I'm Bud Buck, public radio news.
Samantha: Of course. Pardon me. There's some paperwork. You need to fill out this release form.
(sfx: paper shuffling)
Bud: Ma'am, I'm not here for social services, I just want to ask you a question about why adults would steal Ritalin from children who need it for an attention deficit problem.
Samantha: Well I suppose they would... where's the... uh... stapler.
Bud: Is it focus? Is that why they steal it?
Samantha: Uh... sure! Adults today are really scatterbrained, don't you agree? I know it's around here somewhere.
(sfx: rummaging around)
Bud: And so... another day, another new drug... another way to abuse it and make money. The only saving grace is that those adults who need Ritalin to focus on the job at hand are not really organized enough to successfully steal the drug unless they already have it in the first place.
But what America wants to know is... will widespread Ritalin abuse make it possible for more people to pay attention to more of my stories all the way to the finish? Time will tell! This is Bud Buck!