To what extent is academic "doping" acceptable?

Colleges and universities already condone caffeine as most campuses have no shortage of vending machines with caffeinated beverages and at least one Starbucks on campus, if not multiple.

So to what extent do you think that academic doping should be acceptable? Should students be allowed to take Adderall or whatever as they see fit? Is increased performance on a test as a result of such drugs “cheating” or otherwise unacceptable? Is caffeine acceptable, but Adderall unacceptable?

Interestingly, some universities only allow “colourless liquids” in class and during examinations … this raises the interesting question of whether vodka is an acceptable beverage for consumption on campus.

Another interesting opinion I’ve read is as follows:

Interested in your opinions.

While the vodka question is a red herring–every campus will have a separate set of rules about alcohol use–I don’t see any problems with brain pills in college or in real life.

Apart from the legality aspect–colleges certainly have the right to ban students from using illegal substances or legal substances illegally–what would be the argument *against *their use?

Let them use whatever they want. It’s not supposed to be a competition, that it may seem to resemble one is just another problem with schools.

To the best of my knowledge, some colleges only allow clear liquids in class because of a method of cheating wherein students carefully print cheat sheets on the inside or outside of a soda wrapper. I really doubt that they’re excusing drinking vodka in class, and I think any student who tried that during a test would get exactly what they deserve.

On the other hand, the main justification for banning “smart drugs”–or so I’ve heard–is that allowing nootropics quickly creates an environment where their use is necessary to succeed, and students users suffer physical harm due to their abuse. The same justification for banning sports doping, in fact.

We always made screwdrivers for tests that way by the time you were done you didn’t care how you did.

I guess there were people who cared enough to use adderall. I’ve got no problem with it unless you’re at a school that only allows a certain number of As in each class since then you’re forcing people to compete on an unequal playing field. Otherwise let people who care do what they want and those if us who don’t care can drink and have fun and everyone is happy, at least until the Finns get better grades then the adderall people.

So what if a student writes their cheat sheet on a Sprite/Sierra Mist/ Seltzer wrapper? They are “clear liquids” after all.

As there is no good evidence that psychostimulants improve cognitive function in those who are otherwise free of certain psychiatric disorders, or that they alone improve grades even in those who have one or more of those disorders, and we have low quality studies whose evidence suggests that in “normal” individuals, the use of psychostimulants may actually impair cognitive function or certain memory recall tasks, while providing a euphoric feeling leaving an individual thinking they did better than they actually did, no I don’t feel academic doping should be viewed as acceptable.

I think drinking vodka in class might make your grades go down

Then it would be easy for the proctor to see the answers.

The way this is a cheating method, is you get a coke (or other dark beverage), fill it up past the label so nobody can see there’s printing on the inside, and then when you want to look at the answers, you ‘take a drink’, tilting the bottle so the answers are visible (not actually drinking) only when you’re looking at them.

Efficacy of this cheating method or ease of detection (because somebody taking 40 drinks of their coke might catch attention, while most proctors are not going to notice writing inside a label no matter what) is outside the bound of this explanation.

Some posters seem to be thinking about what substances should be acceptable for students to consume during exams, but the OP seems to be talking about taking exams under the influence of substances that might have been taken earlier, or perhaps at an off-campus location not under the jurisdiction of the Honor Court. There’s a difference between taking adderall a half hour before an exam in hopes that it will help versus popping adderall pills while mulling over Question 23. Which one are we talking about?

One argument could be that it gives some students an advantage. Well, there are a lot of advantages some students might have, and that arguably affect performance. Should trust-fund kids who don’t have to work, get chauffeured everywhere, and have top-notch private tutors available on-call 24/7 be allowed to take exams under the same conditions as the students who are working two jobs to support their family, get studying time in late at night when they aren’t too exhausted, and often can’t check their university webmail from home because the IT department doesn’t support Windows 98 anymore? Why do the rich get an advantage? Unfair! Make them work two jobs and get home at 11pm from a grueling 12 hour work shift every other day as a condition for studying at this great school!

I have a very simple answer: if a drug is freely available over the counter (such as the caffeine in coffee or whatever) I don’t care if a student uses it. If the drug is only available with a prescription, the student should have a legitimate medical need to take the drug. If it is illegal, then the student shouldn’t be taking the drug anyway.

I have no clue why this issue should be any more complex than that.

OK, so let’s take a look at the “shoulds” here. A student “should” retain knowledge over the long term exactly as a person who had not doped would. So doping drugs that affect only short-term memory, allowing a binge-study pass-test approach to academics would be banned. If the drugs allow the more efficient gathering of information for long-term benefit, then I see no harm at all in doping.

This follows a bit on my overall problem with the US educational system (which TriPolar also touched upon); I don’t think it should be at all competitive. Each class, grade level, etc. “should” be about the attainment of certain knowledge or levels of understanding/comprehension. Grades “should” be based upon the percentage of that curriculum successfully absorbed by the student. There “should” be no extra points for effort or outside objectives; grades should be based upon what the student knows or has learned to figure out.

And if everyone in the class learns it all they “should” all get an “A” and the teacher “should” get a bonus. If everyone in the class learns only 40% of the material then the teacher “should” be replaced and the school “should” let them all repeat the class with a different instructor. None of this giving good grades to the top five students regardless of whether anybody learned everything they were meant to have learned.

Call me crazy.

Adderall requires not only a prescription but a triplicate prescription. The doctor can’t just phone it in to the pharmacy. You have to go pick up the paper script and take it to the pharmacy every month and, no, they won’t give you more than one month’s worth. So it’s not something that you can just decide to take, unless you’re doing it illegaly. It’s on the list of drugs that the government worries about.

It’s also something that you don’t want to start and stop taking. I was ramped up over a month or more from 5 mg to 20 mg. Twenty is a standard dose, but some people don’t need that much. So at every step you’re asked if there was an improvement in focus. If at any step there hadn’t been an improvement, we’d have dropped back to the last dosage.

Adderall is not something that you take for just one test. If you need it, or if you don’t need it but think it improves your focus, you need to take it every day. You definitely need to take it while you’re studying, because you need your focus then in order to take the information in.

I’ve heard and read complaints about parents getting their children diagnosed with mild ADHD with the thought that the prescription will give them an edge, rather than with the thought that they have a learning disability. I’ve also heard that it will/won’t give a normal person added focus. And that the focus is/isn’t the same as you’d get with Red Bull or Mountain Dew or No-Doz.

Once you have the diagnosis, and a doctor willing to write the monthly trips (triplicate presriptions), it’s legal for you to take Adderall while in college. If you don’t have the diagnosis and trips, it’s illegal for you to take it and your college is not going to approve of it in any way.

The diagnosis is not cheap. The doctor is going to want to see you for an office visit at least twice a year. Fortunately, Adderall is available in generic form, so it’s not as expensive to take as it used to be. But you can buy yourself a lot of lattes for the cost of setting yourself up to take Adderall.

You know something that works as well, but is a lot cheaper? Study groups. Students who set up study groups with regular meetings do noticably better than students who don’t.

I can agree except for the bolded part. Those top students did their work and earned the grades.

It may be a failure on part of the teacher, but it’s not a failure on part of the students.

Yes, one issue that gets to be especially noticeable in college is that instructors don’t really care about teaching the material well. They read the textbook to you verbatim and administer exams. Well, what are you really paying for when you go to college? Are you paying for an Exam and Paper Evaluation and Assessment Service that will give you a grade report for what you already know, or are you paying for them to take you on a journey of learning?

I ain’t read these previous posts in this thread, but I believe any student would probably benefit from taking Aderall-type medication while studying and testing. You go to school to learn, not to perform or compete, so I don’t see a problem with this sort of “doping”.

There’s a gray area with so called research chemicals that have not been extensively studied in humans but are becoming popular as study drugs. Try looking up phenylpiracetam.

I did. I still don’t see why we need to overthink this.

What’s your opinion?

I agree. School is about learning, gaining skills, doing research, and demonstrating evidence that you have done that. It’s not about conforming to societal rules. If a non-ADD student illegally takes Adderall, passes all his classes and/or his thesis, but gets caught with the Adderall, he becomes a college graduate with a criminal record. Those do exist.

I’m talking about a situation in which everybody scored under 50% on the exam, but because it’s graded on a curve, the top five will still get an “A” even though they don’t really know the material. My point is that no one should pass who didn’t learn the material supposedly covered by that class.