Not so smart: students warned of ‘study drugs’

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has issued a warning over so-called ‘study drugs’. 

According to the MHRA, students are ‘gambling with health’ by taking ‘smart’ drugs such as Modafinil and Ritalin without a prescription.

Ritalin is normally used to treat ADHD. Modafinil is prescribed to relieve the symptoms of narcolepsy (a brain disorder that causes involuntary sleep episodes).

Students have been consuming the prescription drugs in order to stay alert and expand their cognitive capabilities.

“Don’t put your health at risk by self-medication – it could have serious side-effects”

Research by the MHRA has shown that 14% of students are likely to purchase ‘study’ drugs without prescription from illegal websites.

The MHRA has launched the ‘FakeMeds’ campaign, aimed at young adults, in order to tackle the problem.

So far, 5,000 websites have been shut down for selling fake or unlicensed medicines.

Lynda Scammell (MHRA Senior Policy Manager), has said:

“You may be offered ‘smart drugs’ or ‘cognitive enhancers’ at university – some of them may be potent medicines which should only be prescribed by a doctor.

“14% of students are likely to purchase ‘study’ drugs'”

“Modafinil is licensed for specific medical conditions – not for use as a ‘boost’ during exams. Don’t put your health at risk by self-medication – it could have serious side-effects.

“It’s a criminal offence to supply prescription-only medicines without a valid prescription – websites offering them are acting illegally.

“Be smart – don’t put your health at risk by buying medicines online and don’t give your student loan to a criminal.”

Sam King, a third year Environmental Science student, told Impact: “I don’t think I’d ever take a study drug. I know people who have, and have felt positive effects though. People get too reliant on them.”

Steven Green

Image: Janels Katlaps via Flickr

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2 Comments on this post.
  • stephen
    28 September 2016 at 18:53
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    There are plenty of natural alternatives to ritalin and adderall available, do a search for ‘adderall alternatives’ or ‘ritalin alternatives’ and you will be pleasantly surprised at how many options there are these days with minimal to no side effects.

  • Mansal
    29 September 2016 at 13:18
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    I have to agree with Stephen. The more people look for smart drugs the more they are getting away from dangerous amphetamine-based drugs like Ritalin or Adderall.

    All nootropics aren’t well-studied and safe, but in general they are probably better. Ironically, the drugs like modafinil have been tested up against amphetamines with great success though with fewer side effects. I’d suggest it’s more of a positive trend than a negative one.

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