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Smart drugs—ethics and policy

Monday, February 24, 2014
Science and Society

Should society consider giving cognitive-enhancing drugs to students who consistently perform poorly at school? 



Taking into account the huge expenditure on education and the less than desirable outcome, the question merits public debate and the formulation of appropriate policy as required. It should be stated at the outset that a medication-based solution cannot be the panacea for all that ails society, but it certainly could be part of the solution. Nor is the abrogation of constitutionally guaranteed rights being implied or suggested. 


The imbibing of energy boosters has become routine for many students, both at university and secondary levels. An emerging and growing trend is the use of brain-boosting drugs, also called cognitive-enhancing or smart drugs.