Saturday, May 30, 2009

Smart Drugs are all the rage

ABC News has an interesting item on smart drugs (or nootropics) |WKPA|and how far they've spread into American society.

I consider Mr. Lamb's way of framing the debate a false dichotomy. We do not have to choose between our souls and smart drugs... But it's a nice article and I'll forgive him for that rhetorical flourish.

[T]he influential technology blog TechCrunch, wrote [last summer], "How many Silicon Valley start-up executives are hopped up on Provigil?" [Michael Arrington of Techcrunch] was referring to the stimulant, which is the brand name for modafinil, that doctors normally prescribe to treat excessive drowsiness associated with narcolepsy and other sleep disorders. "[T]he buzz lately is that it's the 'entrepreneur's drug of choice' around Silicon Valley," the post said.

In an online poll in the British science journal Nature last year, answered by 1,400 people in 60 countries, 1 in 5 said they had used drugs for nonmedical reasons "to stimulate their focus, concentration, or memory." Only about half had a prescription for the drug they were using. A third had bought the drugs over the Internet. And even though about half reported unpleasant side effects, 4 out of 5 "thought that healthy adults should be able to take the drugs if they want to," Nature reported.

Philip Harvey is one who uses them. A professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta, he regularly flies from Georgia to Europe on business. To prepare for his flight, he takes modafinil. He uses the stimulant to feel alert and rested, despite lost sleep, allowing him to return to his family faster. He has no trouble getting a prescription from his doctor. | Debate Rages Over 'Brain Booster' Drugs - ABC News |

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