By J. Hughes
Originally posted March 13, 2014
Most of the ethical discussion of the use of stimulant drugs without a prescription in education has been negative, associating their use with performance enhancement in sports and with drug abuse. But the use of stimulants as study drugs actually has few side effects, and is almost entirely applied to the student’s primary obligation, academic performance. In this I consider some objections to off-label stimulant use, and to stimulant therapy for ADD, and argue that there are ethical arguments for the use of stimulants, and for future cognitively and morally enhancing therapies, in education, the work place, and daily life.
In recent years, as the diagnosis of ADD has become more common, and increasing numbers of adults have begun taking stimulant medications as a treatment for ADD, or without a prescription as a study aid, there have been calls for stricter regulation of the diagnosis and the drugs. People have suggested that the treatment of ADD with stimulants is a conspiracy of pharmaceutical capitalists in league with dubious pediatricians, when the real cause of inattentiveness is allegedly a dysfunctional industrial era educational system obsessed with standardized testing. The alleged risks of the use by adults without prescriptions have been hyped, and the "users vilified as "cheaters" contributing to a pharmaceutical arms race.
The entire article is here.