Smart Drugs?

by henriksix1 on September 22, 2013 - 7:03pm

Remember the movie Limitless? What if the pills really worked?

In my opinion, I remember ``Limitless`` starring Bradley Cooper because I really loved it. The whole movie revolves around a small pill that you take and lets you use 100% of your brain, therefore becoming very intelligent. But this is only a movie; it doesn’t exist in real life. Wait, does it? In fact, private surveys showed that many students in universities across North America use ‘’smart drugs’’ to enhance their studying abilities and therefore, their grades.

But are smart drugs considered cheating?

A user of smart drugs shall say that you don’t become a genius simply by taking a pill. You still need to study and work hard to pass exams; you are just more focused and get less tired of studying. ‘’ it could be the difference between passing and failing an exam, between a good grade and a better one.’’

Someone that doesn’t take smart drugs shall say that seeing people taking these drugs and getting good grades might encourage them or incite them to buy pills and then jump into the trend like a lot of people are doing. Though, no one really knows from where they come because they are bought on the internet and what they are made of. There could be many negatives consequences when taking smart drugs such as steroids for muscle growth, who knows.

In my point of view, smart drugs are considered cheating… it is like having notes or some answers prior to an important exam. It is unfear to other students. Every student should have the same chance of completing and pass the exam (academic equality). Though, I’d really like to try it once but they are probably super expensive and I can’t afford it anyways.

Would you try smart drugs? And if they really work well, would you take some regularly or you’d feel bad for others that can’t afford it in your class, let’s say?


In reference to:





Calin Buzdugan
Humanities for Science programs
Blog Comment 2

  I wanted to comment this article in particular because education is an important topic in a students life, and anything that discuss a way to upgrade your capacity to learn and to study quicker is an eye catcher. In addition, the ethical issue around this article resembles to the one of my first blog post.

  I do not think I will ever try any smart drugs because we do not know the side effects of it. Even if there would be no dangerous side effects and I had the opportunity to take some regularly, I still would not take them. It is cheating on everyone and on your own body. You can not stimulate your brain in order to learn more in less time. I would not feel bad for my classmates, but on myself: I do not want to have a guilty conscience because I drugged myself in order to enter in a prestigious university for instance.
  In my opinion, smart drugs should be considered as cheating. A great comparison would be the use of steroids for athletes: it is illegal because they boost their muscles in order to have an advantage over your adversaries. It is the same situation with these smart drugs: they should be illegal because they boost your brain capacity in order to have an advantage over your classmates. If an athlete is being criticized and being called a cheater, a student who uses these cognitive enhancement drugs should also be called a cheater.
  I agree when you say that these drugs should be considered as cheating. Every student in a classroom should be on the same stand of equality in terms of learning techniques, that is why the teacher helps any student who desires help. But if a student drugs himself to "upgrade" his brain, it is not the same thing anymore. His grades will not reflect its true capacities as a student, so it is exactly the same thing as cheating.
  This following article discusses the side effects of these drugs on the consumer. Basically, it can be dangerous for a healthy person to take these drugs because their initial use was for people with ADHD for instance.

This article interested me at first because I enjoyed the movie Limitless starring Bradley Copper, even though it seemed unrealistic and impossible to picture in our society. But after reading the article and your blog post, this movie does not seem so far from reality after all.
Personally, I would not take “smart drugs” for the simple reasons that it is a drug. Drugs are not illegal for nothing, many contain serious health risks and it is hard to predict the effect they have on each individual. But if for an unknown reason I try some once and it works, I would not do it again. It would be cheating myself and especially others. Like you said, it is like having the answers to a test before doing it.
So in my point of view, smart drugs should be considered cheating. In schools or even at work, the use of these drugs would make you “10-20%1” smarter by increasing your performances and concentration. This gives you an enormous advantage compared to others that do not take the drug, therefore putting the ones that are being honest and truly working hard to accomplish their goal in disadvantage. This drug can be compared to steroids used by professional athletes. When these athletes are caught using drugs that increase their abilities, they are disqualified. It should be the same with smart drugs. They increase your intellectual abilities, therefore giving you an advantage compared to others.
On the other hand, using smart drugs can be beneficial. People who use smart drugs could come up with cancer treatments, new technologies and much more a lot easier than if they did not take smart drugs. In this case, the use of smart drugs could benefit many people in our society. The link posted below brings up other interesting points on the use of smart drugs, such as the benefits it had on US Air Force pilots. Go read it !


What? Did I just find a way to stop studying and still manage to get good grades? This must be the dream of every student on Earth. Being a student, I found interest in the topic because these new "smart pills" may end up affecting my schooling. Not because I would try them and use them, but because other people may. To answer your question, even if the pills work and are safe, I would definitely not use them to enhance my school performances.

I agree with you on the fact that it should be considered as cheating. It is not fair to the other students because a part of our scholar ranking is based on our classmates’ performances. If the other person in my class has artificial good grades, then it would impact negatively on my R-Score and on everyone else’s. Also, you raised an interesting point about the accessibility of the pill. Assuming that it is an expensive drug, allowing its use would give an advantage to the wealthy people.

In my opinion, the "smart pills" are the equivalent of EPO for cycling and steroids for bodybuilding. It is true, just like you highlighted in your post, that the pills would probably not create geniuses. The same goes for steroids and EPO: they do not instantly create a Mr. Universe or a Tour de France winner. Still, their use is illegal in sports because they offer an unfair shortcut to success.

For further thinking on the subject:

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