Prescriptions for Ritalin and other medicines which treat ADHD have increased dramatically in the past few years. The Minister of Health has called for an investigation.
1.7 million tablets of Ritalin have been sold in Iceland in the past year alone – enough for everyone in the country to take six pills. This adds to data that came from a report last month, which showed that 1.5% of the population, most of them boys between 10 and 14 years of age, are taking Ritalin. This is an increase by 50% over just the past four years.
Minister of Health Álfheiður Ingadóttir told Fréttablaðið that she wants a full investigation conducted into Ritalin use in Iceland. As it is, Norwegians use half the amount of Ritalin that Icelanders use, percentage-wise, and Swedes use only a third. Icelandic Health Insurance will end up paying out 762 million ISK for Ritalin subscriptions this year.
Last month, Kristinn Tómasson, director of the Icelandic Psychiatric Society, told RÚV that he finds the increase worrisome. He believes that the increase in medication shows the importance of giving greater attention to children who suffer from ADHD, both in school and within the health system. He added that the biggest flaw with Ritalin is how easily it can be abused.