An inquiry is needed into the massive rise in young people who are prescribed Ritalin and similar drugs, a Midland MP has warned.

Pat McFadden (Lab Wolverhampton South East) urged the Government to investigate why the number of prescriptions for methylphenidate – sold under the brand name Ritalin – had risen sixfold since 1997. The drug is prescribed to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Leading a Commons debate, he asked: “There is no doubt that there is an increasing reliance on these drugs to treat behavioural problems in children.

"Methylphenidate is not always used on its own. It can often be combined with other drugs, so that the child ends up taking a cocktail of powerful drugs to control their behaviour in different ways during the course of the day.

“What lies behind this trend towards the medicalisation of child behaviour problems?

“Do we really believe that there has been a sixfold increase in the occurrence of ADHD and similar disorders in recent years, or are these drugs being used to treat behavioural patterns that were dealt with in different ways by parents and teachers in the past?”