Should I Share My Ritalin?

Published: December 19, 2013
Dear TeenHealthFX,


I've been taking Ritalin LA (40 mg) for my ADHD for a few years.  My friend thinks if he takes some of it, it will give him some more energy.  If I give him some Ritalin, that mean I'm going to miss a dose.  I don't know if I should give him some or not, he has been a little lazy lately, and maybe one pill will help.  What should I do?  

Signed: Should I Share My Ritalin?

Dear Should I Share My Ritalin?,


TeenHealthFX very strongly recommends AGAINST sharing your medication with your friend for your friend’s sake and for yours. First of all, this medication was prescribed for you – what medication to give you, and how often and how much of this medication you need to be taking was decided upon by the doctor prescribing it based on your personal needs. So it is important in terms of your well-being that you not deviate from what has been recommended to you. In addition to considering your physical and emotional well-being, it is important to know that it is illegal to dispense medication to other people when it has not been prescribed to them and you are not a licensed medical doctor authorized to prescribe meds.


Secondly, there are definite risks when people want to play doctor for themselves (or when people want to play doctor for their friends in terms of sharing their meds). It is very possible that your friend may need and benefit from taking some kind of psychotropic medication – but whether or not he needs medication, and what medication would best suit his individual needs, is not something you or your friend can safely make a final decision about. A doctor needs to meet with your friend to better understand his symptoms so that he/she can decide upon a medication for your friend (if one is even indicated). For example, if your friend is lacking in energy it may mean he is depressed and would benefit more from an anti-depressant than from a psycho-stimulant like Ritalin. In addition, not all medications agree with all people – there are things to take into consideration such as allergies and potentially problematic interactions with other medications. So it is critical your friend meet with a doctor about this.


Again, FX strongly urges you NOT to share your medication with your friend, or anyone else. If your friend asks again, tell him you do not feel comfortable sharing your prescription medication with anyone, and suggest that he speak his parents, a school counselor, the school nurse, or his own primary care physician about the symptoms he is experiencing so he can be evaluated and, if needed, started on medication that is right for him and prescribed specifically for him and his needs.


If your friend lives in northern New Jersey and needs help finding a therapist, he can call the Access Center from Atlantic Behavioral Health at 888-247-1400. Outside of this area he can log onto the US Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website for referrals in his area.


If your friend doesn't have a doctor and lives in northern New Jersey, he can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment or contact his local teen health center.



Signed: TeenHealthFX