The Playroom: Ritalin dreams


Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

Are you sick of paying the high costs of medications for your child? Do pharmaceutical company CEO salaries make you wish you had married one? Are you tired of standing in line at the all-night pharmacy in your slippers for hydrocortisone cream? Does it make you crazy that after 10 years of parenting you can diagnose an ear infection by yourself, but you still have to go to urgent care for the amoxicillin scrip?

Well, look in your medicine cabinet, on the back shelf of the linen closet, buried in the pantry next to the vitamins your kid wouldn’t eat. Do you have any unused prescription medications? We’d like to invite you to put them to use. We are establishing the first ever suburban pharmaceutical co-op, organized by mothers to be used by mothers.

Just gather up all those half-used bottles of suspension liquids or the penicillin you never finished because you left for vacation and forgot to bring it with you, the steroid cream you just couldn’t be bothered with because she wasn’t itchy anymore, whatever you’ve got that you think someone else can use. You can give us your azrithomycin, erythromycin, diphenhydramine, Dexedrine, your Zantac, salbutamol, and singular, Tagamet, Tylenol, Concerta, and Pulmicort. We’ll take anything that rhymes with casserole, like albuterol and Adderall, also Focalin, Methylin and Ritalin, we’ll take it all!

For every donation you make we will assign points in a complex allocation scheme that only we can understand. Then, you can use your points toward the stuff you think you may need. If you’re not sure, just check the Internet for self-diagnosis. Since so many mothers we know don’t know how to check the Internet to self-diagnose their own children and then irrationally freak out about cancer, we will provide training!

Given our numbers we also have bullying power, and we are able to convince local pharmacies to hoard meds for our members. So if you are tired of calling all over town for those Adderall XR refills, we can help!

We will also organize buying trips to Canada financed by funds raised from selling our expired inventory to junior high school students to use at pill parties. Since we are generally mad at our junior high school children and their friends, we don’t mind making money off of them, even if they are children.

In addition to promoting our wellness philosophy of accessible, hassle-free medication for our members, we will also sponsor opportunities to give back to our community and to humanity. To celebrate the end of flu season, every year we sponsor a drug drive. We will have collection bins in district elementary schools and in the backs of local churches.

We will gather donations from the drug drive and combine them with any inventory we don’t want. Then we will donate the drugs to a local charity, which takes unused pharmaceuticals to impoverished nations. Although the local mom in charge of transport is currently in prison for illegally transporting prescription drugs into another country, the charity is confident they will find another lead mule.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at

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