søndag 28. november 2021

In China, People Are Risking Everything for a Box of Ritalin

They came for Jiang Ruiyang on Sept. 2. Ten police officers burst into the factory where he was working in north China’s Shanxi province, told him he was being detained on drugs-related charges, and marched him across the shop floor in handcuffs. The 25-year-old’s crime: buying a few boxes of Ritalin on the internet. Similar scenes have played out across China in recent months, as hundreds of people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have become unexpected targets in the country’s war on drugs.

The wave of police raids is the result of a series of policy failures that have left people with ADHD feeling increasingly desperate. For years, China’s health system has made it extremely challenging for adults with the disorder to access vital medication. Many have turned to the black market as a result, but that’s now putting them in the police’s crosshairs.

Stimulants like Ritalin, Concerta, and Adderall are strictly controlled in China, and anyone found buying them illegally can be prosecuted for drug trafficking. Patients like Jiang are effectively being forced to risk a prison sentence to protect their health.