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What's your opinion on the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs (especially for young kids)? Do you think they are a form of cheating?

The use of Ritalin has increased six-fold since 1990 and approximately 25% of college kids use prescription ADHD drugs without a prescription. Overall, from 2002 to 2010, the number of medical prescriptions given to children decreased by 11%; however, the prescriptions for ADHD drugs increased by 46%.

Some physicians are prescribing cognitive enhancing drugs to students who attend schools starved of money, not because the student has ADHD, but to boost academic performance. Dr. Michael Anderson, a pediatrician for many poor families in Cherokee County, north of Atlanta says, "I don’t have a whole lot of choice. We’ve decided as a society that it’s too expensive to modify the kid’s environment. So we have to modify the kid.”

What's your opinion on the use of cognitive-enhancing drugs? Do you think they are a form of cheating? Is today's society so competitive that we have to use classroom steroids to boost our performances?

Check out this article describing the rise in these drugs and their long-term effects if you're interested:
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/health/attention-disorder-or-not-children-prescribed-pills-to-help-in-school.html?emc=tnt&tntemail1=y&_r=2&

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  • Mar 13 2013: I can't speak for people without ADHD, but I wish I had the medicine and treatment during my education since I struggled to keep up with even the minimum requirements... Now I have to make up for that.
    It is often stimulants used in these medications, which do affect the brain differently in people without the disorder. As with all substances, be they medicinal or 'natural', you should always be sure that you actually need to take them.

    I don't know if it should be considered 'cheating' to use drugs to enhance cognitive abilites, since I don't view education as a competition, but as I wrote above - don't use it if you don't need it.

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