Student Post: controversial dangerous mysterious narcotics neuroenhancment
Perhaps one of the most common social activities among people of all ages, though hopefully not in children, is the consumption or use of drugs like alcohol and cannabis. Generally, these drugs are used for social purposes and lead simply to altered interactions with others; however, more common than one might think is the use of drugs as neuroenhancers by students. A study published last year by researchers in the universities of Zurich and Basel aimed at discovering how common the use of drugs, prescribed or illegal, was by Swiss students with an average age of 23. Among the 6,725 students that were surveyed, roughly 13.8% admitted to having tried alcohol, cannabis, prescribed methylphenidate like Ritalin, some amphetamines, and even cocaine in order to boost brain function during an exam preparation period. These students had heard of the possible brain-boosting properties of the drugs and then attempted to stimulate their brains through the use of either illegal narcotics, or prescribed medicine from physicians that knew what their intended purpose was. The researchers from the universities also conducted surveys of many physicians located in several European countries, related to similar studies that had been done in some European institutions, in order to ascertain the frequency in which the physicians received requests for neuroenhancers and what the typical response to such a situation was. Many of the physicians stated that their acceptance or refusal of requests like these depended on the context. As a whole, only a small minority of the students surveyed claimed to have received the desired effects of the neuroenhancers, begging the question: how effective or safe is the use of these “smart” drugs? Possibly, as hinted by the survey results, the only real reason the students are experimenting with these drugs is due to their high stress situations (meaning that the drugs are most likely being used for stress-relief with the self-justification of brain enhancement). Do any of you think there might be some legitimacy in the use of brain-stimulating drugs to attempt enhancement? Or should the possible safety risks be enough to stray from the attempt?