You are probably aware of the controversy that surrounds college students using Ritalin as an aid to cram for their exams. Ritalin is just one of a number of drugs used to aid memory, brain function and concentration.
Known as ”cognitive enhancers,” these drugs include those that can be dangerous as well as “nootropics,” which are not harmful to the brain. Many of these drugs are currently undergoing testing to measure their efficacy and level of safety.
Regardless of what results are found for any one of these particular chemical formulations, it seems likely in the near future we will have medications that can help to increase brain function. The question is, should these drugs be encouraged — or even allowed?
For many people studying both at school and university can be highly stressful and demanding. Nootropics that aid concentration and allow for improved thinking offer an avenue by which people can accomplish more or the same amount of learning in less time.
Those who need to balance their studies with work or family life would no doubt welcome a way in which they could learn what they needed to without sacrificing other areas of their life. The idea our future doctors, engineers and other professionals can learn more during their education is also appealing. In addition, there is the possibility those who ordinarily might not be able to excel in the academic rigours required for their desired career would be able to excel with the use of nootropics.
However, some people are uncomfortable with the idea of these drugs becoming commonplace. With competitive examination systems and the importance of the quality of a degree in finding employment, there is always the concern using these drugs would basically become a necessity.
Those who did not want to use the drugs would find themselves under pressure to do so or find themselves unable to compete with those who did use the drugs. There is also the worry these drugs would be seen as the easy option, leading to students neglecting the development of study skills and other hallmarks of a rounded education. And, of course, as with all new drugs, there is the possibility that unknown side effects may occur in the long term.
The development of nootropics requires serious thought from parents, students and academic staff. Indeed, some students are already using certain drugs for their nootropic effects. Decisions on how to deal with these drugs are only going to become more pressing as time moves on.