Exam-boosting drug tests 'loom'

By Coconut · May 22, 2008 · ·
  1. Coconut
    Notice the talk about an "unfair advantage". I believe students take these drugs to counter the stress and enormous workload which come with exams and scrape a pass, not to outdo each other.

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  1. Euphoric
    Will they make sure everyone maintains the same diet, partakes in the same amount of exercise and shares the same life experiences to insure no one has an unfair advantage too?

    A student was suspended today after testing positive for the cognitive enhancer gingko biloba. Officials felt he was trying to increase his cognition capabilities to unacceptable levels...

    Feed your head.
  2. AquafinaOrbit
    OMG, not Ginko Biloba. Man should be arrested for that. I mean how dare he go to school and try to retain as much as the information he can.
  3. Hyperspaceblastoff
    wtf i thought that was encouraged not criminalized
    i guess i should have known in this backwards country
  4. ~lostgurl~
    Personally I think ADHD meds do give an advantage, not to those with ADHD but certainly to those who don't have it. But rather than drug tests I think these brain enhancing pills should be available without prescription, so that anyone can take advantage of the benefits these pills give, just as anyone can take advantage of caffeine.
  5. Heretic.Ape.
    Officials felt he was trying to increase his cognition capabilities to unacceptable levels...

    hat is phrased incredibly. I had no idea there was such thing as an actually enforced mandated limit to cognitive capabilities. Amazing.
  6. Hyperspaceblastoff
    they want u as stupid as possible
  7. Heretic.Ape.
    I once read a great short story about a future where society has made everybody average. If you can jump higher than average you wear weights. If you see better than average you wear pretty much the opposite of glasses etc. Does anybody know what that story was, I can't remember?
  8. Lunar Loops
    This goes into a little more than just 'brain enhancers'.

    This from the Guardian (UK):

    Exam cheating alert over brain drugs

    Ian Sample, science correspondent
    The Guardian,
    Thursday May 22 2008

    Schools and universities could soon be facing a different kind of drug problem: a rise in students taking brain-enhancing pills to boost their exam results.
    Government advisers warned yesterday that new drugs to treat conditions as varied as Alzheimer's disease, attention deficit disorder, and narcolepsy are in danger of being misused by students eager to bump up their grades.
    The use of brain-boosting drugs, many of which are designed to improve memory and attention span in people with serious degenerative brain diseases, could become as big a problem for the education system as performance-enhancing drugs are in sport, the experts said.
    The warning comes in a report from the Academy of Medical Sciences, which was commissioned by the government in 2006 to survey the implications of expected progress in brain sciences and drug research. The report urges the government to be alert to the misuse of "cognitive-enhancers" and to prepare the ground for regulations and even urine tests to control their use in schools, universities and workplaces.
    "Students using cognitive enhancers raises exactly the same issues as athletes using drugs to improve their performance. The risk is they could give people an unfair advantage in exams - and examination results stand for a lot in this country," said Professor Les Iversen, a pharmacologist at Oxford University and co-author of the report.
    Since the drugs are designed to be taken by people with dementia and other serious disorders, there is scant data on how safe or effective they are if taken by healthy people, the report warns.
    The group of scientists behind the report identified six categories of drugs, already available on prescription, which claim to boost brain function. These include modafinil, which is used to treat narcolepsy, ritalin and related amphetamines for attention deficit disorder, and donepazil for Alzheimer's disease.
    Prof Iversen said that while most of the drugs are officially available only on prescription, the number of websites beginning to sell brain-enhancing drugs was increasing. "The situation right now is very haphazard. There's a big business in smarter drugs but no one to regulate it. This is a very active area and we'd better be prepared for a number of new drugs becoming available in the near future," he said.
    Serious concerns about the lack of new drugs in the pipeline to treat addiction and depression are raised in the report. Sir Gabriel Horn, its lead author and a neuroscientist at Cambridge University, said government spending on addiction to class A drugs alone amounts to £15bn a year. He added that depression and other mental illnesses cost a further £77m in medical costs, patient care and lost productivity.
    The report calls on the government to expand basic medical research into addiction and offer the pharmaceutical industry incentives to develop treatments for addictions to drugs such as heroin, cocaine, nicotine and alcohol.
    Further research should be directed at understanding the link between genetics and the environmental causes of mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. The report also urges the government to set up a brain bank to help neuroscientists study the way in which mental health disorders affect the structure of the brain.
    The report goes on to call for an overhaul of the government's drug classification system to help clarify which are most harmful to individuals, and costly to the health service and economy. The new classification scheme would be based on aspects of drug use that can be accurately measured. These would include the risk of overdose; other health risks, such as lung cancer and liver disease; the costs to the health service; and the level of addictiveness.
    · Overhaul drug classification system to better reflect harm caused by substances
    · Introduce drug education programmes to all schools
    · Urge research agencies to expand work on addiction and its treatment
    · Appoint body to gather information on drug abuse and related harm
    · Create a European institute for addiction research
    · Expand research into effect of cognitive enhancers on healthy people
    · Assess social implications of widespread use of brain-enhancing drugs
    · Consider regulation of brain- enhancing drugs in schools, universities and workplaces
    · Increase research into causes of mental illnesses
    · Establish national brain bank to study neurodegenerative diseases
  9. chinpokomaster
    Revision is an unfair advantage. Ban that!
  10. Zentaurus41
    How about the rich kids who can afford extra tuition ?
    Or whos parents are a Doctor in the subject they are studying.

    Its all BS, if a drug can help you remember stuff its not cheating as you still have to understand it. Even if you could do a matrix and just upload the info to your brain, i dont see whats wrong with it.
  11. staples
    I wonder how it'll be for the kids who don't need to be tested because they have doctor's notes saying they're allowed to take these medications?

    I heard that one edition of my university's newspaper last semester had an article talking about how there is more unprescribed use of Adderall than prescribed use on our campus. I wonder how that'd change if our student health services were allowed to diagnose ADHD and prescribe accordingly.

    I think I used to feel the same way, but the more I learn about pharmacology, the more I believe that ADHD medication is rightfully scheduled as a controlled substance. This may be a little bias, since most kids I grew up with had doctors as parents and I've almost always known several people with prescriptions. However, I think if someone were to illegally take his/her friend's ADHD medication for studying, that someone wouldn't get caught and would not get in trouble.

    However, if that someone is going to use it irresponsibly to get high and feel good all the time or what have you, the chances of being caught and facing serious charges raise considerably. It's not perfect, and sometimes the poor kid who probably actually has ADHD but not health insurance and is using the medication to study is the one who gets fucked, but I think if we had it any other way, all the people high on amphetamines would be more detrimental to society than an unfortunate prosecution or two. At least this way, we perhaps see more first-time prosecutions leading to a few mandatory sessions with a therapist, who might decide the kid needs the medication after all.

    I dunno, that logic has kinda been at the back of my mind for a while.
  12. Panthers007
    So let's see if I got this right. An athlete in school must pee in a jar if he/she wants to engage in sports. If one doesn't pee in said jar, one is not allowed to perform sports. Okay - so far, so good. Now...

    A student who is going to think during examinations must pee in a jar - if he/she wants to think?! So what does one do if one fails the pee-test? Lose their ability to think?! Wait a frickin' minute here...what if they just outright refuse to pee in the jar? I don't think - this makes much sense.
  13. Bajeda
    Just another excuse to test for drugs?

    "Well, we were looking for cognitive performance enhancers, but since we found drugs that are recreational and/or decrease academic performance, we are expelling you anyways!"
  14. Greenport
    Know what's funny?

    Before the 1920s when there was less drug research, drugs were looked upon as good things - wonders of nature and man that help people out. Then there was this time, which we are still in, where drugs were quickly shunned from society and looked upon as evil, with no scientific basis to prove this.

    Now that worldwide research is possible and people are finally starting to see the science behind it, I think we will soon once again change our views on the use of drugs as a worldwide society.

    The fact that people can use drugs to IMPROVE their mental abilities and willingness to learn new facts or do better in school should be a tell-tale sign that perhaps their use in this manner is not in the same ballpark as your heroin addict shooting up with used needles on the street. It's not even the same sport.

    If these drugs would have been used in the early 1900s to improve mental ability then it would probably have been seen as a miracle drug. Think about that.
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