Prescriptions for ADHD drugs for young children have risen by 500 per cent in the last few years across Europe. The vast increase follows a drive by the pharmaceutical industry to get Europe more in line with the US in using stimulants such as Ritalin. Children who have a range of supposed psychiatric conditions-including ADHD (attention-deficit, hyperactive disorder) and autism-are being given the drugs, which include Ritalin (methylphenidate), Dexedrine (dexamphetamine) and Strattera (atomoxetine). Researchers from the Aarhus University in Denmark discovered the sudden upsurge in prescriptions when they profiled 850,000 children born between 1990 and 2001. They discovered that 61 per cent of the children diagnosed with ADHD, 16 per cent with ASD (autism) and 3 per cent with other 'psychiatric' problems were being prescribed one of the drugs. The extra prescriptions represent a five-fold increase in the last few years alone, they discovered. This increase follows a series of memos sent to drug company sales forces around Europe to increase prescription numbers for the drugs to levels that were more in line with the US. WDDTY researchers have seen the memos and emails. (Source: Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, 2013; 130909061602008).