British Composer, Addicted to Ritalin, Depended on Royal Family to Maintain
Documents released by the National Archives reveal that Royal composer, Sir William Walton, became addicted to Ritalin later in life, leaving officials and doctors to make an exceptional effort to get him “up to 2000” tablets a year, according to Daily Mail.
While living on the Italian island of Ischia, Sir William Walton, British composer, beloved by the Royal Family, sought help in obtaining what ultimately became life-saving medication. Continue reading and we’ll give you the nuts and bolts of it.
Royal Family News – Walton Had Trouble Getting Drug as its Export was Technically Unlawful
Ritalin is a well-known and often controversial drug used in the treatment of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and is sometimes used to treat fatigue in the elderly. The newly released file from the Archives does not explain why Sir William was being prescribed the medication but does reveal that Walton was extremely dependent on it.
According to iNews, Walton’s wife Susanna had appealed for help in obtaining 2000 tablets a year for the composer on the grounds that it was not permitted in Italy where the couple lived. They had initially picked up the drug on trips to London but, in 1978, his doctor was informed that prescribing the drug for export was unlawful.
Royal Family News – Doctor Labels Drug ‘Essential Lifesaving Medication’
Later Home office officials “made arrangements” via the Italian ambassador in London as well as Italian narcotics officials to help Walton obtain the medication. Walton passed away at the age of 80 in 1983 on Ischia.
It was never made clear to anyone, why the Ritalin was being prescribed to a man approaching 80. However, his doctor, Michael Wilson, reportedly told officials that the drug should be considered an “essential lifesaving medication” for the aging composer.
Royal Family News – An Impromptu System Was Arranged Utilizing Annual Prescriptions
According to iNews, an impromptu system was arranged utilizing annual prescriptions from Dr. Wilson along with one-time licenses issued by both British and Italian authorities or order to sidestep the fact that such exports were technically unlawful. However, by 1982, shortly before Walton’s death, Ritalin was legalized in Italy, even though it was still not available there.
On a postcard showing a 1948 portrait of her Sir Walton in Ischia, Lady Walton wrote: “Just wanted to thank you again for taking an interest in William’s Ritalin problem. The Italian Embassy is trying now to help.”