General Question

robmandu's avatar

RitalinĀ® use can prevent someone from getting their pilot's license later in life?

Asked by robmandu (21331points) August 18th, 2008

I overheard a conversation where it was explained that someone who took Ritalin at any point, even just once, during childhood would not be allowed to get their pilot’s license, or even join the military later in life.

A) is that true?
B) if so, what else might that person be precluded from doing? (I’d guess policework, holding some level of public office, etc).
C) what other drugs might have the same restrictions?
D) how enforceable is such a rule? (assuming there’s no master database with the name, SSN, prescription drugs taken, etc. of Ritalin-takers somewhere).

The person further elucidated that the problem with Ritalin and other similar drugs is that they’re permanently mind-altering. So, the restriction is not based on a person being ADHD, but specifically the drug’s known (and unknown) effects on the brain.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

Judi's avatar

I don’t know where anyone ever asked my husband if he ever took Ritalin before he got his pilots license. He never did take it, but my son did. Then again, my husband got his license before our privacy rights were stripped away by the current administration.

Lightlyseared's avatar

I don’t know if taking it once would stop you holding a license however a brief look around the net found that the FAA guidelines for commercial pilots are very strict about using Ritalin and maintaining your license.

Judi's avatar

A commercial license may have different requirements. My husband is a private pilot.

Harp's avatar

I found this Q&A on a forum devoted to medical clearance issues for pilots:

Q: I am a 25yr old male and am looking to get my pilots license. As a child I was diagnosed with ADD and was taking ritalin for a few years. I’m no longer on the medication and I am wondering if it will disqualify me from getting my license even though I’m not taking it anymore. Thank you for your time. JOE

A: No, it will not disqualify you from getting your license, but you will need to give your examiner a letter from your doctor stating that the ADD is no longer a factor and is under control without requiring any medications.
Dr. Roberts

wrestlemaniac's avatar

hey i take Ritalin but that will NOT stop me from going forward in life.

Harp's avatar

Forward, no; UP, maybe.

wrestlemaniac's avatar

well that’s what i meant.

Harp's avatar

Just kiddin’

wilhel1812's avatar

It shouldn’t prevent you anything at all. Not sure about the rules in the US tho.

buster's avatar

I don’t see why it would matter. The U.S. military gives their pilots amphetamines if they fly more than one mission in a day.

robmandu's avatar

The crux of the argument (for which I still cannot find supporting evidence on the FAA web site), @buster, is that Ridalin alters how a person’s brain works at some fundamental level, whereas a simple amphetamine, like caffeine, does not.

Not defending the premise of the question as much as explaining it.

That’s because in my research so far, Ritalin is listed as a “Schedule II” drug with the potential to be abused (usually by kids who grind it up and snort it for the high). However, it’s also used to help people sleep normally… not just for behavior disorders.

Nothing I’ve found on the FAA web site lists its use as automatic disqualification for a pilot’s license (although many other illicit drugs are).

allengreen's avatar

@robmandu—you rock, and are right on. Ridalin users that I’ve know are great folks, but they remind me of my friends from back home that at some point and time did too much coke. They tell the same stories over and over, and with my Ridalin friends, they aways act as if they are hearing old news for the first time.

Please don’t fly my plane.

Nullo's avatar

I think that the main concern is not the Ritalin, but the lack thereof. Certain aspects of plane operation require one’s full concentration..
Even so, the FAA might be going a bit overboard.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther