Universities told to consider testing for smart drugs

smart drugs

Universities must investigate measures, including random dope testing, to tackle the increasing use of cognitive enhancment drugs by students for exams, a leading behavioural neuro­scientist warns.

Student use of drugs, such as Ritalin and modafinil, available over the internet and used to increase the brain’s alertness, had “enormous implications for universities”, said Barbara Sahakian, a professor of clinical neuropsychology at Cambridge University’s psychiatry department.

Normally prescribed for neurological disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, such drugs boost acetylcholine in the brain, improving alertness and attention. Their use has prompted concerns that they could give students an unfair advantage. “This is something that universities really have to discuss. They should have some strategy, some kind of active policy,” Sahakian said.

Guardian: Universities told to consider dope tests as student use of ‘smart drugs’ soars

(via h+)

Previous look at smart drugs here at Technoccult

1 Comment

  1. You know, this sounds like a call for universities to protect themselves from liability. Unless you could argue that their later performance will suffer because they used smart drugs, this isn’t about protecting students, but more like CYA for the university in case someone sues them over their grades, charging that others had unfair advantages. I hope they aren’t stupid enough to go down this road, since caffeine, exercise, and many other things affect performance. If I don’t have enough money to join a gym, but another student does, isn’t that an unfair advantage, giving the others higher energy levels than me? How about if I can’t afford as many cups of coffee? Yes, universities should discuss this and create policies to prevent stupid knee-jerk reactions in the future that lead to various expensive bans, tests, and enforcement issues. Heck, a forward thinking university could set itself apart by guaranteeing that they will supply state of the art smart drugs to the entire student body.

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