Rise in ADHD medicine for children ‘alarming’

17 Jul 2016


Tens of thousands of tablets for attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) were given out in Scotland last year.

The 123,222 items dispensed for the treatment of ADHD is a new record high, compared to 112,000 in 2014/15 and just 105,000 the year before that.

The NHS spent more than £6 million prescribing the pills, the vast majority of which go to young children suffering from the condition.

However, many parents and experts have expressed concern about the rise of medication such as Ritalin being used on children with attention and behavioural issues.

The Scottish Conservatives have called for ministers to look again at alternatives in a bid to reduce the increase which has now occurred for several years on the trot.

The statistics were published this week as part of ISD Scotland’s analysis into the money spent annually prescribing medication to people across Scotland.

Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Donald Cameron said:

“There is always going to be a place for medication to be used with children suffering from this disorder.

“But parents are rightly concerned about the increasing occurrence of this.

“Drugs for those so young should only ever be used a last resort, and I hope the Scottish Government can explain why these figures have increased, and how it intends to address the situation.

“People will find it alarming that so many tens of thousands of these drugs are issued each year.

“We cannot have a situation where more and more children are being put on behavioural medication in Scotland without properly considering alternatives.”




Below are the figures from ISD Scotland showing ADHD prescriptions over the last three years. Source: ISD Scotland.

2015/16 – 123,222 items costing £6.04 million

2014/15 – 111,996 items costing £5.79 million

2013/14 – 105,019 items costing £5.88 million

The full report is here: