Higher education demands higher attention and more responsibilities, especially with upcoming finals. Students are searching for new, advanced ways to cheat; science, though, has a generous gift for them – ‘smart drugs’.
Adderall, Ritalin or Modafinil are prescription-only drugs are supposed to cure narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They enhance individual’s attention, sharpen the mind, boost memory, and give the sense of natural wakefulness for many hours. Students, thinking of the drugs as an advanced caffeine substitute, are taking them, however, completely disregarding its effects on the nervous system.
In 2013 the BBC network conducted an online survey among 761 visitors of the website, where 38 percent of respondents said that they have tried those cognitive-enhancing drugs. What is more astonishing that 92 percent of those who tried it, stated that they are eager to take the drug again. And year-to-year the number is increasing.
AAU Student Anna Savina shared her experience with the drug – Adderall, during her exchange semester in the USA. She used it before the important test to study. “It took me 2-3 hours (to go through the half of the course material), I was highly concentrated, when u start reading or writing under the Adderall u can’t stop, it’s like you are soaking the information,” she said.
After that it was impossible to sit and do nothing that’s why she managed to finish all the homework, do some sports and went clubbing for a whole night. After it she went to the test, for which she got A-. “I was so pumped, I was spinning in the chair trying to talk to people,” added Anna.
However, she warned that after the effect is gone people are getting depressive, extremely exhausted, hungry, and emotional. “Even a homeless cat in the street can make you feel like crying!” – said Anna.
AAU Provost of Student Affairs David Lipka admitted that the administration is concerned with a rising number of students abusing ‘smart drugs’, especially in the US, and trying to monitor the situation. Faculty members are still not sure if the drugs should be considered as a form cheating or not.
“Use of illegal substances on the campus may entail disciplinary hearing with penalties ranging from reprimand to expulsion from AAU,” he added.
The problem of punishment at AAU lies in absence of concrete policies and restriction from the administration. Nevertheless, a recently edited Codex is placing intoxication among non-academic misconduct.
Furthermore, a stumbling stone for the University is to what extent should the academic staff intervene into the personal life of a student. “We try to help students in difficult situations but on the other hand, we fully respect them as free and responsible people,” said Lipka.
For students with personal problems and struggles in any area of their life, which they would like to share with someone and get a professional counseling, AAU provides the services of a psychologist. For the AAU students the service is absolutely free of charge.
In the US huge numbers of students are getting the drugs from their friends, who have an unlimited access to it because of prescription explained Anna. Some of them have ADHD or sleeping problems, and as long as it is a common problem for the American students, they would easily get the prescription.
However, Anna remarked that few of her American friends on exchange in Prague are struggling without it. “My friend even was trying to find it here for himself but he couldn’t,” she added.
On the other hand, AAU student Assel Biyeva said that actually there are some instances of using ‘smart drugs’ in Prague. Assel, who used to study at UNYP, said that there were some ‘smart drugs’ on the campus. “The guy has the disease (ADHD) and he’s just selling his prescribed drugs” to anyone, whoever wants, she said. Usually he pretends to have a casual talk about weather while the act of delivery, she explained and confirmed being a witness herself.
Another way to find those magic pills is via he Internet, which is popular in the United Kingdom. It is enough to type in a Google search and there would appear all sorts of websites that are offering help for a student to buy Ritalin or Adderall without prescription. No personal presence needed: you pay by card and the order is shipped right to your door.
Nevertheless, situation in the United Kingdom for many is confusing that majority of the universities do not regard ‘smart drugs’ as alarming sign and do nothing about them.
“We are not aware of any student taking this drug and if any students do have difficulties with their studies we encourage them to make use of our support services,” said a spokesman for Sheffield Hallam University.
Adderall is the most popular in the USA, however it is almost impossible to find it on the European continent, because it contains a mixture of amphetamine salts, which are not licensed in the area. Modafinil is usually prescribed for sleep disorders; it is legal to buy it online, though it is illegal to supply it, without a prescription. However, Ritalin is a controlled drug that is soled only by prescription.
The British Ministry of Defense has become notoriously famous for its affiliation with extraordinary ‘smart drug’ use in early 2000. The Ministry sent thousands of Modafinil pills to sustain its pilots and troops in Afghanistan and Iraq awake on the missions, according to the Guardian investigation report. However it caused more harm to the soldiers psyche than good.
Even though that drug-use for successful studies is not yet common in Europe and Czech Republic especially, it still is alarming sign for the Western world. “I think it is great we don’t have it here. It would be a disaster!” concluded Anna.