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Drugged Up To The Smartness

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Recent studies show that more than a fifth of students admit they have been taking “smart drugs” to stay awake and be able to study longer. These students are choosing prescription medicine such as modafinil and methylphenidate as their studying fuel. These medicines are usually prescribed to those suffering from various forms of brain disorders.

National student newspaper, The Tab, recently showed that, according to their poll results, half of students who are taking stimulants reported some kind of side-effects. These side-effects include reduced appetite, insomnia and increased urination. These are short-term side-effects, and those long-term are yet to be found out, but students are not daunted by unpleasant repercussions – one in five modafinil users claims that it is an everyday habit.

On the other side, confirmed by Kingston University Prof. Andrea Petroczi, there is little evidence showing that these so-called smart drugs are making people clever. She said that those are not magic pills, they don’t work without putting the work in, it only extends the time of effective studying.

Half of students who participated in the survey, most of them being science students, said they bought the substances over the internet. Usually, substances are taken in a form of a tablet.

Asked whether they consider these drugs intake to be an act of cheating, less than one in ten answered with a yes. When it comes to the law, buying prescription-only drugs is not illegal, while selling them is. According to Jim McVeigh, cheating and violating the law are not the most problematic aspects of neuroenhancing-drugs intake, but their long-term-use associated health problems are. Currently, a review of smart drugs by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is under way.

Most students feel pressured to stay at the top of the labor market competing game, and smart drugs seem like a reasonable choice. But, short-term benefits, that are not even yet fully confirmed, can lead to irreversible damages in students’ brains. Drugs like modafinil have similar effects like caffeine, only more enhanced. According to Dr. Peter Morgan from Yale University modafinil definitely affects the dopamine system and dopamine will make you more alert, and also more interested in things. Another substance contained in modafinil, called norepinephrine, can make you more alert and improve your focus.

Official website for Provigil, one of the trade names for modafinil, states that side effects of this drug consummation can be: “depression, feeling anxious, sensing things that are not really there, increase in activity (mania), thoughts of suicide, aggression, other mental problems.”

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