Smart Drugs

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Most definitely an aspect of the future, making your self smarter by taking a pill that magically makes you better at studying, focusing, understanding things, staying awake, etc. This article on BBC Future’s website speaks about the rise of prescribing these medications or smart-drugs­ as it was referred to in the article.

Imagining a future where everyone is enhancing himself or herself with these smart-drugs or Nootropics is not the same as the reality. What are the health implications? What about the ethical implications? Will this further stratify our socio-economic classes as the middle to upper income families all over the world will take these medications to enhance and excel while lower income families will not have access to them, will fall behind. There are huge implications for the normalizing of prescribing and taking of these kinds of drugs.

It seems that young people, the new generation has a different perception of these drugs than most adults do. ScienceDaily had some interesting statistics to report about the number of students had tried to enhance their cognitive functions with soft and hard (illegal or legally prescribed drugs) How is it different from drinking coffee in the morning? It is. How can it not change our “personal satisfaction in achievement…reduce the need for character-building effort, and weaken our sense of identity? These ethical implications are even more complex though. For some reason, drugs like these are mind-altering but are still associated with soberness. Why? I can’t say that I personally see the difference. It is a change in perception and that is what will make everything a zillion times more complicated in my opinion. I like the way the article in the Economist put it: “For many, drug is a four-letter word. Unapproved use is at best worrying and unfair, and at worst dangerous and immoral. Such thinking leads to strict controls or even prohibition and criminalization.”

Will these drugs change our identities? According to John Harris, (Professor of Bioethics and Director of the Institute for Science, Ethics, and Innovations, University of Manchester, UK) “cognitive enhancers are hardly unique in altering identity… smart-drugs may be character-changing, but… in a free society it is for people to weigh that up and decide whether it’s a desirable course of action.”

I completely agree with that view because of political realist philosophy. In my view, people will want access to these drugs, and denying that is not fair. However, the prescription should always come with education and raised awareness about the implications and risks so that people can make their own educated choices about these drugs.

This website specializes in all kinds of information on smart-drug use and information.

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