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Psychopharm Going 'Mainstream' In Schools?

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the regrettable-trending dept.


PizzaFace writes "Back in the day, college was a place where a lot of kids tried recreational drugs. Now the world's more competitive, psychopharmaceuticals are better targeted, and millions of students are routinely using drugs to work better and longer. Stimulants developed for attention deficit and narcolepsy are giving mentally healthy students an edge like athletes get from steroids or human growth hormone. These psychotropics seem fairly safe, but should they be banned in the interest of fairness, perhaps with enforcement by urine tests before exams? Or do we tell our kids that, if they want to compete in this brave new world, they better find some Adderall and jack their brains up like their classmates'." If college students are doing it, how many programmers are? What say you?

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I GOT POOP ON MY WEEN (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513430)

from inserting my phallus intoi the anus of your mother!!!!

Ben Stanfield
Executive Editor []


RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513605)

Mr. Ben Stanfield, it is with regret that I write to inform you that someone else has been chosen for the position you were interested in. In fact, we have told every other company we know not to hire you.

Best wishes, Hiring manager

No, no, you don't mean what say you (-1, Offtopic)

DoorFrame (22108) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513432)

What you say? Someone set us up the bomb!

Re:No, no, you don't mean what say you (1)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513561)

I smoke a lot of pot when I'm burning the midnight oil, but I don't think it's making me smarter, just keeping me conscious. I get the work done though.

Overkill (5, Funny)

koh (124962) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513435)

90% of current programmers probably do not use those drugs, since they're overkill for Visual Basic coding...

Re:Overkill (5, Funny)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513493)

90% of current programmers probably do not use those drugs, since they're overkill for Visual Basic coding...

shouldn't that read ...

90% of current programmers probably do use drugs, since you've gotta be on drugs to be coding in Visual Basic ...

All kidding aside, if you count caffeine, I think you'll hit 99.99999 ... ah wtf, say 100%. Both programmers and school kids. Ditto for sugar.

Re:Overkill (1)

Solra Bizna (716281) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513549)

My productivity is pathetic when I'm not on an SRI, but I have an annoying tendency to develop a tolerance after only a few days.


As a High school student... (0)

darkgamer20 (909352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513440)

I highly disapprove of these drugs. Man its like some dumba** can take these and be as smart as or even smarter than the smartest kid in school. This has 2 flaws, the kid dosen't have to work at all, and the naturally smart kid is screwed over. This encourages wrong morals.

Hm (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513441)

Two wrongs don't make a right. If you are going to punish someone, punish the parents (for minors). How are these kids getting drugs, anyway?

Re:Hm (2, Informative)

Faustust (819471) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513453)

Step 1: They are getting them from other kids who have a prescription. Step 2: Their parents find out and punish them for taking others' prescription medications. Step 3: Parents find out it will help their kids in school and at home. They convince the doctor to give their kid a prescription. Step 4: PROFIT! Step 5: See Step 1.

Re:Hm (2, Funny)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513456)

How are these kids getting drugs, anyway?

They buy them?


These people are just punishing themselves. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513463)

While they drugs may appear "relatively safe" today, we have to remember that we often haven't been able to sufficiently study the long-term effects. Indeed, what we might find is that these drugs can inhibit brain function if used for years on end. Even occasional use may prove to be damaging.

Personally, I think the best negative of these effects would be impotency. While the stupid often don't know they are stupid, the impotent almost always know they are impotent. An inability to get an erection past the age of 30 would be the best payback for students who sought to use such drugs to gain an advantage over their peers. Sure, they might have a high-paying job and financial security, but without the ability to get a boner even the typical hobo is above them.

Re:These people are just punishing themselves. (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513516)

An inability to get an erection past the age of 30 would be the best payback for students ...

Somehow I don't think the girls in school are worried about getting erections ...

Little Johnny: (pulls down pants) I've got one of these and you don't!

Little Sally: (lifts up skirt) I've got one of these, and my mommy says that with one of these, I can get as many of those as I want.

Females can suffer from impotency, too. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513598)

Females can suffer from what could be described as "impotency", as well. If a female cannot produce the fluids that lubricate the vagina during intercourse, having sex will be virtually impossible without the use of some sort of lube.

Other problems may involve the vaginal muscles not loosening enough. A woman whose vagina is too tight to accept even a pinky finger will be unable to take even just a 6-inch penis.

A combination of the aforementioned problems will make intercourse basically impossible.

It has been suggested that the various performance enhancing drugs in use can lead to such problems. Even if the use of such drugs allows for a man and woman to be successful in their careers, their relationship will likely suffer if the man cannot maintain an erection (assuming he can even get one) and his wife cannot place any sort of object within her vagina comfortably.

The inability for such individuals to experience sexual gratification could easily lead to their performance dropping far more than if they had avoided taking such drugs in the first place. Healthy workers are often the most productive workers, and the healthiest workers have healthy sexual lives, in addition to healthy eating and exercise habits.

Re:Hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513477)

But three lefts do.

Re:Hm (2, Informative)

idonthack (883680) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513484)

Usually from a friend with a prescription. Parents usually have no idea because there are no signs and the kids don't have to go anywhere special to get it.

Re:Hm (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513495)

How are these kids getting drugs, anyway?

Were you homeschooled or something? Seriously, if you dont' know how kids (especially colledge students) get drugs, who are you to suggest who to punish?

Re:Hm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513521)

Kids with prescriptions sell their stuff to the rest or give them away if those interested are friends. Many drug dealers here in NY have pharm side businesses - that's how oxy, viagra, and the benzos get around. i know this because moving lorazepam, vicodin, adderal, and codeine to undergrads at my uni got me through school. they are super easy to get if you make the connects, and dirt cheap in bulk. I sold everything at $10 a tab. I was getting them bulk for $3 a pop. It paid for the outstanding portion of my tuition that wasn't covered by scholarships and grants and stuff and also got me some ass - sad to say - but a broke chick with a drug problem is the best lay you'll ever have. yes students are using performnce enhancements; this is because society encourages it. Our parents were such hypocrites: don't use drugs, then they'd cheer Barry Bonds and the Terminator - and watch NFL football on sundays. For those that don't know, the professional football players that don't use steriods do not exist. It's impossible at that level of play to not use something; they all use hgh, even the kickers. My friends at division I-AA used steroids and other illegals. It's the way of the world. american ethos isn't hard work at all costs as its own reward.... it's win at all costs. In my opinion, ritalin is no better than a strong cup of espresso... but what matters is that it works and fast, and well. let's not forget the legal nootropics. soy lecithin, gingko, dmae, et al. they work too - especially dmae.... god does that shit work - it feels like pressing a button when one takes dmae. the smart button. in a global economy it will only get worse. the only change is if/when the dynamics of the world economy change.

Just Say No To The Drugs... (5, Interesting)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513444)

Maybe we need to get Nancy Reagan out of the 80's closet just tell everyone to say NO to the drugs. It's bad enough in California that you have to show ID to buy cough medicine and be limited to two packages, while I can walk into a cloud of pot smoke at my apartment complex even when the police are nearby.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (5, Funny)

xlyz (695304) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513452)

while I can walk into a cloud of pot smoke at my apartment complex even when the police are nearby

is this a bug or a feature?

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513613)

it's neither... the problem lies in the double standard. you know how it works, laws are passed to prevent bad stuff(tm), most people will go on and do bad stuff(tm) and the police won't care, while they will bug to no end the only good guys(tm) that are left. because they're so much easier to pester and tend not to shoot on sight.
(on a different note: alteredo is a great idea, every other civilized country in the world has had this kind of service forever... it was about time milan woke up and followed suit)

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (4, Insightful)

tsm_sf (545316) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513470)

Well, one is a mildly psychoactive drug that's fairly harmless in moderate quantities. The other is used in the manufacture of an extremely physically and socially destructive substance. Sounds like the cops and politicians in your area are on the ball... have you seen what meth does to people?

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (2, Informative)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513531)

Actually, I think he was referring to DXM containing cough medicine. The kind kids chug/eat to "trip." But yeah, I'd rather see them smoking a little pot. DXM is a little more dangerous.


Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (2, Insightful)

zorander (85178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513540)

So is rubbing alcohol and rock salt. Should we begin restricting those, too? Where does this argument end?

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513585)

By your counterargument, it also senseless to restrict weapons grade uranium because conventional explosives are easily available.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (1)

themusicgod1 (241799) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513556)

have you seen what meth does to people?
Have you seen what kind of lives people who do meth have to look forward to assuming they didn't do meth [] ? For a lot of people, life sucks, and it's not surprising they turn to drugs.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513615)

Bullshit. I grew up with nothing; not like city folks on welfare. I didn't have $100 Nikes or get fat watching TV growing up. However, I managed to work my way through college (yes, it took 6 years) and am now salaried and living comfortably. They chose miserable lives. Life did not deal them a bad hand.

No. The "War on Drugs" was a failure. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513512)

Reaganisms aren't a suitable way of dealing with such problems. Face it, the "War on Drugs" failed. It failed for a number of reasons, but it mainly has to do with the fact that "drugs" aren't an enemy that can be beaten via a war.

This is a case of people using drugs to bring them some sort of an advantage over their peers. That is often done for economic reasons. Instead of cracking down in a police-state fashion, the best way to deal with these problems is to make them unfeasible in an economic sense.

First of all, if a company wants their staff to be fuck-buzzed on some stimulant, then so be it. That company may see benefits in the short-term, but in the long-term their income will suffer. In the world of software, they may be the first to get their product out there, but it will likely be a piece of shit. Most companies can't pull that sort of stunt off. Chances are people will end up having a very negative image of that company, and will likely avoid their future products. Of course, such future iterations of products will be building on a base of dung, and will likely be of a very low quality themselves. Soon enough, companies will realize it is better to hire employees who aren't high on various substances. There's no need for government regulation when the free market will punish those who wish to partake in such drug use.

It may be dumb, but at least it's tangible... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513565)

Hey, at least drugs are a tangible target for a war, as opposed to a war against a tactic or ideology. Granted I've never seen a crop of marijuana plants piloting a jet fighter, driving a tank, or wielding an AK-47, but at least with a "war on drugs" there's something you could (if you really wanted to) shoot, bomb, or burn.

I can't imagine who on Earth could possibly be dumb enough to wage a tar against something intangible.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (1, Troll)

LGagnon (762015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513530)

The problem with the "Just Say NO" campaign is that it doesn't take into account addiction. Addicts aren't able to "just say no"; they need treatment. The "Just Say NO" campaign only existed as an excuse to decrease the amount of government spending on mental health. On that it worked, but at the price of increased drug use across the country (which explains the early 90s crack epidemic).

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (1)

zorander (85178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513553)

Congratulations. You've demonstrated a rock-solid string of causality from the Reagan administration to the 90s crack epidemic (which definitely had abslutely nothing to do with Escobar's massive importation of a cheaper, more potent product since those fucking republicans were in office). Bravo, my good sir. We need more people in this world making such stellar arguments such as yourself.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (2, Interesting)

LGagnon (762015) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513581)

Bush Sr. carried on Reagan's campaign into the 90s. The campaign [] was a notorious failure, with no significant reduction in drug use at all. Even celebrities in favor of it turned to drugs themselves. Was it the "Just Say No" campaign's fault that crack came into being? No, but it was its fault that America was not prepared to handle it.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (1)

mattkime (8466) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513550)

>>Maybe we need to get Nancy Reagan out of the 80's closet just tell everyone to say NO to the drugs.

Yes, because it worked so well the first time.

Re:Just Say No To The Drugs... (3, Interesting)

kfg (145172) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513559)

The short answer is that a corporation doesn't make a profit on pot. Corporations do make a profit in opposing pot.

Of course it's a bit more complicated than that, but not much.

Here's how our mental "health" structure works these days:

Go to the psych ward at a city hospital and tell them you use pot. The shrink will put you on a program to teach you that drugs are not the way to deal with your emotional problems.

But go a few hours later though and tell them you have emotional problems and the same damned shrink will give you psychoactive drugs to deal with it.

It's totally schizo, but they get paid for both ya see.

Is it any wonder that our legislators are utterly psycho about the drug issue? They grew up being taught to accept this kind of cognitive dissonance without experiencing any cognative dissonance. They'll make cough syrup a crime, but mandate Ritalin.

The world has gone totally, fucking nuts. Does anyone know where I can find a nice, quiet, dry cave to hole up in?

Ummmmmmmmmmmm; with broadband.


Surely more recreational? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513445)

I'd imagine recreational drugs would be far more appealing to programmers, in order to unwind after a long day at the codeface.

Re:Surely more recreational? (2, Insightful)

quigonn (80360) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513577)

That's right. I know a lot of programmers and hackers who smoke weed. Not every day, but e.g. on weekends. And it's not bad(tm), after all. They do their work, they're successful, so no real negative side here.

Re:Surely more recreational? (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513595)

It isn't about what is more appealing, it is about what is sustainable. Stimulant abuse beyond caffeine really isn't very sustainable. Maybe it'll work for a college student for a couple of years, but a career programmer simply couldn't sustain it. They'd either burn out or get a nasty addiction on their hands. Stimulant addictions will mess you up pretty bad. Moderate recreational drug use like pot, on the other hand, is quite managable.


New? Try old. (5, Interesting)

akarnid (591191) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513446)

Nothing new here, at least for Uni students. Back in the fifties and earlier, when amphetamines were over-the-counter andcould even be baought in vending machines in some places in Europe, Uni students cramming for an exam used to pop quite a lot of those. These new drugs may not come with the unpleasant side effects now, but we'll see what effects long-term use will have in a few years when use becomes widespread.

caffeine or bust (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513447)

I'll stick with colas. Guess I'm old fashioned

this is ironic (-1)

jeffs72 (711141) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513448)

Considering elementary school districts tell parents to medicate 'problem' kids with ritalin and adderal or take them to a private school.

I wonder, this have anything to do with these drugs becoming mainstream?

Education in the US is teh suq

OMG I'm So Stoned Right Now (5, Funny)

Doomedsnowball (921841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513451)

Like, I'm sooo stoned right now. It's totally, like, helping me write a Google Homepage plugin for checking your MySpace notifications. That way I can keep in contact with the people who do my homework for me! I tried a few drugs to help me as a programmer, but pot is the best. I tried coke for motivation and to focus, but like, I totally ended up foaming at the mouth playing WoW online. I tried LSD, then tried to program my cat to feed itself. I tried snorting my Mom's Zoloft, but I felt so good about my programming, I totally like, stopped tweaking it and it's still full of bugs. But when I smoke pot, I lay around playing XBox until the last minute when I drink an entire pot of coffee and my panic driven code is the best I could ever hope to write sober. Like pharmies are so pill-popping '80's. Sounds like something babyboomers would worry about, like, for reals.

Re:OMG I'm So Stoned Right Now (1)

HaMMeReD3 (891549) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513606)

Lol, I agree, whenever my mind is fried sober and I can't solve a problem I get baked, and somehow the code always gets finished good. Which is scary cause my mind keeps going blank and I have no clue how the hell I managed to write so much code stoned.

Actually, to be honest, I dont think I code sober anymore.

Re:OMG I'm So Stoned Right Now (1)

corychristison (951993) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513612)

... wait.

You can write plugins for the google homepage!? ZOMFG! were R my PoNiZ!?


Where would the line be? (1)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513457)

Where would you draw the line?

Decongestants with pseudoephedrine?

And if the smart kids start taking as much as Adderall as the doping suburbanites, aren't we all back where we started anyway? Fallacy of the collective anyone?

Re:Where would the line be? (2, Funny)

Doomedsnowball (921841) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513468)

The line would be on the mirror.

this is nothing new (1)

bferrell (253291) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513459)

at one time, long ago, amphetemines were given to the troops to keep them alert. Students used them too for similar reasons. It's just different drugs now

Not so long ago (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513480)

They still do it [] ; not always with good consequences [] .

Re:this is nothing new (4, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513569)

Now they're moving on to modafinil (aka Provigil). In tests, they can stay up for several days at a time without fatigue, jitters, headaches, nausea, or loss of alertness or attention span. At the end of the test, 10-12 hours of shut-eye seems to reset their sleep clocks, and they move on, largely without any apparent side effects.

So now I wonder about it, even though I shy away from taking most pills aside from the occasional Advil or Rolaids. I have my day job, which is getting a little tougher because aside from training on a sudden influx of new technologies, I also have to help make up for the quarter of our team that went elsewhere. I have some side work that I do for extra money. I'd like to get back to learning C/C++, and pick up Perl as well. I also want to go for Cisco and Linux certifications, and come this fall I'd like to go back to school and get back on the path to my degree. Being able to slice out even half of the nights that I currently use for sleeping would be a tremendous assistance.

But is it fair? If I'm able to use this time to ramp up like that, will it force others to do so as well? Is it fair to my colleagues if I'm able to do half of their jobs (time permitting)? If I'm awake 24 hours at a stretch, and don't mind putting in an extra four hours since I have eight more than usual, am I putting their jobs at risk? And what happens to me when the next person comes along who is not only taking modafinil, but also a memory booster?

Drugs are no help (5, Insightful)

mlefranc (85595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513460)

Drugs are no substitute for reading a lot, tinkering, listening to others and keeping classifying things with respect to what you already know. Learning is a very long-term process, certainly little understood, and no drug can kick you on that time scale. What drugs can certainly do is to make you think you are smarter and temporarily relieve the pain of learning. The problem is that anything that makes you different, smarter or otherwise, is painful in some way.

Re:Drugs are no help (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513502)

Some of these drugs allow you to focus on your work longer. I need to study finals right now, and here I am wishing I had some drugs instead of reading slashdot.

Stimulants don't do much for me. (5, Interesting)

Visaris (553352) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513462)

I've tried many "performance enhancing" drugs over the years. From caffeine to adderall, riddlin, cocaine, and methamphetamines. All these things have been reported to allow one to think and work faster and longer.

My experience? I perform much worse on these substances. Sometimes I'm jittery and cannot focus. At times I think and work so fast that I make many carless errors that end up taking me more time to fix than if I had done the work slower and did it right the first time. The drugs that kept me up and allowed me to work longer just took more of me the next day.

I can tell you all, from personal experience, that taking stimulants to try and help you through the day is a waste of money, is a health risk, and may actually decrease your overall monthly or yearly performance. Not to mention the fact that our over-reaching government would be more than happy to put you in jail for a very very long time for posessing many of these substances.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513505)

I can tell you all, from personal experience, that taking stimulants to try and help you through the day is a waste of money, is a health risk, and may actually decrease your overall monthly or yearly performance.

And I can tell you all, from personal experience, that they are a complete godsend. The short story is I had serious learning problems at school, I had serious hobby problems at home, I had serious problems all up. I was interested in EVERYTHING and my mind wouldn't let me settle down and truly enjoy & work at any one thing in a productive way. Doctor wanted to put me on ritalin at age 9, my parents jacked up at that and called him crazy, then spent the next 7 years trying all kinds of alternative bullshit to help me.

Then I scored a constant supply of ritalin, and the world was a different place. I could actually DO things. I made more improvements to my schoolwork in the year after starting it than I had in a decade before. It changed my life. My parents still don't like it, they think ritalin = amphetamines = crack cocaine = me dead by age 30, but I don't live with them any more and that's their problem.

Sometimes, drugs are the answer.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513536)

Right; it sounds like you actually have a legitimate medical need for Ritalin. If someone without an underlying ADD-like condition takes that stuff, it will harm their productivity, not help it. That's what the grandparent post was getting at; he wasn't saying that nobody should be using stimulants, just that they aren't going to turn Joe Six-Pack into John Carmack.

Adderall and ritalin ARE basically amphetamines (5, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513580)

And I can tell you all, from personal experience, that they are a complete godsend. The short story is I had serious learning problems at school, I had serious hobby problems at home, I had serious problems all up. I was interested in EVERYTHING and my mind wouldn't let me settle down and truly enjoy & work at any one thing in a productive way. Doctor wanted to put me on ritalin at age 9, my parents jacked up at that and called him crazy, then spent the next 7 years trying all kinds of alternative bullshit to help me.

Then I scored a constant supply of ritalin, and the world was a different place. I could actually DO things. I made more improvements to my schoolwork in the year after starting it than I had in a decade before. It changed my life. My parents still don't like it, they think ritalin = amphetamines = crack cocaine = me dead by age 30, but I don't live with them any more and that's their problem.

For those of you thinking about trying this stuff without the supervision of a doctor after reading this: don't. While they can be a godsend for those with ADHD, those who don't have the problem can have some serious trouble.

In non-ADHD subjects, Ritalin and Adderall are similar to methamphetamine in function. In normal individuals, they cause rapid increase in dopamine, just like amphetamines do. Really. If you don't believe me, this article on Ritalin [] from the National Institute of Health. The upshot of all of this is that in non-ADHD patients, addiction rates are very high due the increased dopamine levels.

Disclosure: my wife is a substance abuse counselor and deals with people addicted to this stuff all the time.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (1)

user9918277462 (834092) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513509)

Stimulants are not miracle drugs and they don't improve your mental state for very long. When you use them you're basically borrowing against your future sleep or mental energy. After the drug wears off you experience a crash that's at least as intense (in the opposite direction) as the original positive effects. It's also debatable whether the improvement is entirely psychosomatic (the drug makes you 'feel' smarter but empirically there is no improvement) or if it is something positive and measurable.

Think of amphetamines and other stimulants as sort of an energy credit card. They might come in handy every once in a while but you'll always have to pay it back (usually with interest) and if you use them too much you'll get into serious trouble.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (1)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513529)

You might just be a polarity responder. I have a similar reaction to coffein: I don't drink coffee, because it doesn't wake me up, it makes me sleepy (and the taste sucks).

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (1)

ElephanTS (624421) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513547)


Somebody's been selling you the wrong kind, dude!

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513546)

Last time I was in school, an instructor suggested a performance enhancing drug to take before writing an exam, of sitting down at home to write up an assignment. Since then I've had great results from taking this miracle drug when studying.

The drug is simply a protein-rich, non-meat snack. A handful of nuts, a protein bar, some yogurt; anything along those lines will increase your mental focus. Meat isn't good because the fat counteracts the effects of the protein.

Keep in mind, this is from someone whose mental focus is pretty good to start with, as long as I eat a generally healthy diet. For anyone with a serious learning disorder, drugs may be required on top of a healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (2, Interesting)

zorander (85178) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513567)

It sounds like you (or he) may be hypoglycemic. Protein contains the same cal/gram as sugars without the catastrophic insulin spike and subsequent blood sugar crash characteristic of people with "low blood sugar". I actually find that meat is just fine, even fatty meat, and works even better than nuts (which have more carbs than meat). In any case, I agree, but this may not be as helpful for some as for others.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513582)

ersonally I believe that the problem is the increasing centralization of control over the schools. This includes all Federal interference and all state interference.

Schools should be funded locally, and have local control. Unfortunately, the various levels of government have stolen the sources which were traditionally used to fund schools, so local funding is a problem which needs solution. This doesn't make it any less necessary. If the local students are to be taught lies, it should be because the local citizens have decided that that's what they want their children taught. (They will suffer the appropriate consequences...but their folly should not be forced on everyone else.)

This has been my position for over 2 decades, and everything I've seen during that period of time has only reinforced the opinion. Only at the college or university level should the state (e.g., Idaho or Pennsylvannia) have any involvement. The states should run the colleges, because specialized education needs to draw from too large an area of population for local funding to be reasonable. They should be tuition free, but have appropriately difficult admissions requirements, and may limit the number of open spots for admission. (The state can decide how many English majors it needs to educate, and how many BioChemists, and fund that many classes of the appropriate type.)

At all levels, private schools should continue to be an option.

Some will argue that this will unfairly penalize the children of poor cities. In my experience in those cities the federal government alone extracts more funds nominally for education than are expended on schooling by all levels of government combined. This may not be true everywhere, but it's certainly largely true. Also, the most important parts of schooling don't require much in the way of funding, though they do require the cooperation of the parents. Thus if the parents will not cooperate with the local school, the school should have the right to refuse to allow the student to attend lessons. Disruptive students are not something that should be tolerated...but when schools are used in the way in which they are currently, that's what you get.

That said, not all students are academically inclined. There needs to be a flexible "tracking" system, which allows those mechanically inclined to develop their skills as well as a track which allows the academic students to develop THEIR skills. I envision one hour per day during elementary school (after third grade) where students experience are instructed in "enrichment specialties", which should include things like band, set theory (arithmetic should be rote, and sorry), wood/metal/plastic shop, etc.

OTOH, this requires a fairly large elementary school. Other benefits would accrue if elementary schools were local enough that all students could walk to them. That way the neighborhood kids would study together. This would probably mean that, e.g., grades K-3 would all be taught in the same room by the same teacher. (If you have enough students to split this in two, perhaps you could split them by distance rather than by age.) This WOULD be an acknowledged combination school and babysitting service, and play areas would be an important part of the situation. Teachers in this class would be expected to LIVE in the school, and keep it open. Provisions for substitutes would be necessary. Etc. Class sizes would be small, but the salaries would be enough to live on given the free rent. (I envision that most of these teachers would start out as mothers raising their kids. So room would need to be sufficient to handle not only the teacher, but also a husband or other partner and their children. With a safe fenced area around it which is the school yard.)

N.B.: A lot of what I'm proposing is just my idea spinning of how it might ideally work out. The important parts are:
1) No central control.
2) Local choice on funding & curricula & environment.

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (3, Informative)

uniqueCondition (769252) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513589)

I would recommend dexadrine. A great drug, this thing is prescribed to kids w/ ADD and special forces pilots often take it as well.

The drug is perfect for studying late:
1) keeps you awake (why special forces likes it)
2) you're not hungry (use to be a diet drug)
3) keeps you focused (why ADD kids get it)

Those three factors are perfect from cramming

Side affects:
1) sometimes you'll end up talking too much
2) can grind your teeth a bit
3) i'm sure there are some health side effects..

Re:Stimulants don't do much for me. (1)

colinbrash (938368) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513608)

My experience as an observer has been similar. Back in high school (that's mid/late '90s -- this is nothing new) I knew several people who would snort ritalin in order to write papers or do work. It never seemed to improve their work, only make it easier to do the work, as opposed to procrastinate. Maybe some newer drugs actually help people do better work (I don't know anything about Adderall), but I'd be surprised if it were any different.

carless errors

Do tell me that was intentional. ;)

i use drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513465)

it helps me get through my windows coding experience.

Just always remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513466)

When you hear people talk about the "war on drugs", what they really mean is the "war on some drugs".

If the only people who use the drug are rich and white and productive, then it must not be a problem, right?

Re:Just always remember (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513594)

You're just bitter because you're not rich and white. Man, it's great.

Now if you'll excuse me, the mailman just dropped off my white entitlement cheque.

Safe? (4, Insightful)

Poppler (822173) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513471)

These psychotropics seem fairly safe

These are amphetamines [] we are talking about. They're a lot less healthy [] than the recreational marijuana use favored by other students. Just because they have a brand name, doesn't mean they're safe.

Re:Safe? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513498)

"These drugs are not safe."


Not only that they don't make you smarter. They just keep you awake. They would be good for data entry or writing an english 101 paper, but not for doing anything that requires actual thought and substance.

For that you need good old fashioned recreational drugs... SEE: LSD!!!

Higher Edication (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513475)

Sure, go to school to get smarter, but don't use the products thoose smarts helped you make to get even smarter.

Curiosity (5, Insightful)

Sir Holo (531007) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513483)

You can't buy curiosity.

Someone who is curious continues to mull over material long after the test has been passed. Someone who only cares about the grade will forget about it after the test.

Smart employers can tell the two apart.

Re:Curiosity (1)

ateves (981580) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513523)

Your comment is anything but wrong, and I agree about curiosity. But it has to be mentioned, that there are a lot of people (and of course employers) who are primarily interested in your grades. I often experienced that.

I do it (4, Insightful)

luckynoone (775973) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513486)

I do it. I have ADHD, but the Adderall does a heck of a lot more than keep my ADHD in line. It has been extremely beneficial to me at work and in my personal projects with programming and coming up with ideas. It is like caffeine x 10 without the jitters and with the ability to focus that amazing energy at whatever you want. Then again, since I have ADHD, maybe that is just normal to everyone else but something new to me? I think it has given me an edge over the average person. However, that is a side effect of the drug. I don't think I should be discriminated against for that. I am not abusing it, and it is working as the doctor hoped at keeping my ADHD in line. Before I found Adderall, nothing I had tried worked in terms of meds. I would not want to get out of bed and I had no energy, focus, or drive. I don't like the thought of people without actual medical need taking it to get ahead. I look at that as the same thing as teens smoking pot. Cancer patients smoking pot to alleviate pain and keep their food down is a hell of a lot different than Harold and Kumar getting stoned so the sliders at White Castle taste wicked and so they can "feel" the music.

Re:I do it (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513610)

Ok, you make no sense. ADHD medicine is man made chemical mind altering CRAP. Weed is something that grows from the ground naturally, and has been taken by almost every culture for recreational/spiritual usage. Just because now it is found to also benifit cancer does not mean that is what its only for. That is simply an application that was found for it, unlike your pyscho meds, which were made specifically for a "mental disease".

So before you start comparing your "do what the you are told pills" to my good old fashoined weed, please notice that they are two completely different things. One is medicine, and one is recreational that has just recently been found to have medical benifits. Dumbass.

My question is... (1)

geekdom04 (933714) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513491)

Why are the schools pushing material so boring that students need drugs to pay attention to it in the first place?

Re:My question is... (1)

Gunnery Sgt. Hartman (221748) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513522)

Good question. I've never had to use drugs (aside from caffine for late nights), but I had a classmate that took Ritalin to help him pay attention in class. While I was shaking my knee and staring at the lights, he had chemical help in class--just not fair in my opinion.

NoQuestionIt'sHelped (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513492)

EversinceI'vebeenusingAdderallI'vegottenmuchmorewo rkdone.Moreworkthanever.Ithinkeveryoneshouldtryit. Imeaneveryone.Regularol'coffeejustwon'tcutitintoda y'soutsourcedworld!Yougottatakewhateveredgeyoucanf indnowadays.Gottago.Morecodetobewritten!

Two overlooked items (2, Interesting)

Tom (822) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513513)

Two things are getting overlooked in the comments so far:

One, the comparison to pro athletes is flawed because in those cases the steroids are in addition to hard training. Same way, none of these drugs replace the problem that you can't know what you never read. So no, the dumb kid won't beat the smart kid. It'll just score a-little-not-quite-so-dumb.

Two, aside from what medicine tests (and currently denies) in side-effects, there's always one to be aware of: Habit. If you go into every test pumped up, you will lose your ability to pass a test without your little helpers. Which means that since most higher-up jobs nowadays are essentially continous crisis management, you'll never be without them until retirement.

I'll add a third: You probably miss out on the incredible drugs your body can produce on its own...

Re:Two overlooked items (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513576)

Uhhhh what about two smart kids competing, one using? Mark McGwire was great for the Athletics, awesome early career, but he hit 70 home runs very late in his career... same with Bonds. Come on, awful argument there.

Old School (2, Insightful)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513515)

The most overeducated man I know insists that 45 minutes is tops in terms of all out mental performance to be followed by a 10-15 minute break. Da Vinci was known to sleep in small amounts inbetween work bouts that lasted in the 45 minute range. I can still pound out 14 hour days but I need a break every 1-2 hours. Sometimes I consider going on a 45 minute on 15 minute off program but I find I can't let go of a successful run and cool off my jets while risking loosing impetus.

I've a standing approach to legal and recreational drugs. I don't touch anything new to the market until it's been in wide use for at least 5 years. Let the military, professional jocks and paid lab rats take the initial risk. Drugs might jack you up but it's still rigorous logic and imagination that get the job done. A few years ago when a doctor asked me to write some tests I scored a 161 in a standard IQ test. I know 161 isn't first string but I also got an above average memory and I find I can move across most problem spaces. I very much doubt any drugs are going to improve on what I do now.

Meth amphetimine is dangerous cheap and plentiful. Long term use includes symptoms very like schizophrenia. I can't imagine why it's so widely used.

Recreationally beer, pot and mushrooms keep me amused and their long linage pretty much tell me what I need to know about harmful side effects.

just my loose change

modafinil, etc. (5, Insightful)

Rage Maxis (24353) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513517)

theres lots of new players out there too. i'm bipolar+etc. and part of how I discovered this was that I started to go wacko when I was taking speed to be able to work 100+ hour weeks. unfortunately I just about nuked my brain in the process, but thats another story completely. now I need to very carefully control my dopamine levels with several different medications, but thats life as I know it.

But I did this at one time, taking amphetamine and methamphetamine as well as ritalin, modafinil, adderal and any number of other substances at work in order to be able to work longer and care less about doing other people's bidding. Don't forget the flipside, the taking B-vitamins to deal with the burnout, tyrosine to fix the receptor loss, benzodiazepines to deal with fact that you can't really sleep properly anymore. counselling to deal with the psychosis and the weird mental states you get into from the fact that your brain can't cope with being up for many days straight.

The slant of this post was that there is something inherently UNFAIR about this, that "we" need to test against people doing this. There isn't a big worry because the people doing this all end up at one time or another like me, running on borrowed time means massive burnout. I aged biochemically about 10-15 years in the space of 3 years. Mileage may vary, but its not a smooth move. Ironically taking amphetamines to study isn't even a great strategy. Just going to class and paying attention is a better plan. Being on amphetamines reduces memory retention so much that its not worth the effort.

The big issue here, to me - is that people feel the need to self improve just so they can put out like whores for other people. Learn to live cheap and work less. Why do people feel the need to work harder and longer? I'm not sure why I did it, most of the money I was making was just going into the very drugs I was taking just to make more money for more drugs. Now I live on almost nothing and what unhappiness I have is mostly from the things lacking from my life from when that lifestyle caught up to me. Living on borrowed time catches up to a person. And when your employer finds out you're not just an eccentric hard working savant and really you're tricked out on speed you find out just how little they really care about you.

University (1)

simonjp (970013) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513524)

There was a recent article about drugs to keep you going in our uni newspaper. Ritalin was the one going around and it seems quite a few would use it... if it ever gets updated it would appear somewhere here. []

A good drug (2, Interesting)

mlefranc (85595) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513525)

The drug that does marvels for me is practicing judo twice a week. Nothing worked better for being able to focus attention in a very short time on something important and going to the core at once. Mind will serve you only if you are the one that controls it. However, it took several years to be a nidan.

Before exams (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513526)

a small dose (20mg) of methylphenidate (ritalin) does give you a noticeable edge, it allows better concentration and I find faster thinking.

anyway... what about google gulp?

Explains everything (1)

RalphTheWonderLlama (927434) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513527)

Damnit! That's how those more nerdy than me nerds got better grades in my CS classes. I demand that they have an asterisk placed next to their GPA!

One word: (1)

RoffleTheWaffle (916980) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513528)


A couple of times (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513535)

I tried Adderall a couple of times to see if it makes a difference. Yes, it does.

It probably wouldn't help most programmers when writing code (look up "hyperfocus"), but for mundane tasks like reviewing documentation, etc., it really does help. I could feel it kicking in and I could feel it fading away; if I could be like that all the time I probably would've gotten straight A's in college.

A deficient diet? (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513543)

First thing to do is make sure you're eating a diet which provides everything your body and brain needs. The western diet is... abysmal... mostly; mediterranean isn't bad. []

The body and brain are chemical machines, they need certain quantities of certain substances to run at their maximum potential and if you're not consuming the right substances, they'll be artificially limited to a lower performance. So you're wasting your time if you eat crap then try to boost your performance with drugs.


Med students, including working w/ patients too. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513555)

I've heard scary stories from friends that went through med school and residencies of med students doing this.

They give themselves big cocktails of stimulents to the point when they start going crazy and then supliment them with anti-psychotic drugs to try to control those symptoms. And then they go work on patients.

this might be a reason (1)

batmanmn_m (948139) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513562)

I like at the end of this article Kandel is talking about how it doesn't understand why people are taking pills, then the last sentence. "at the end of the article In normal mice, he says, his stuff improves memory -- only by 20 percent to 50 percent." yeah that might be the reason, I don't take pills but after reading this I may consider it during finals week

Kids nowadays .... (1)

icepick72 (834363) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513566)

All you really need is coffee. A real man's upper. --John

Instant gratification (1)

Stalyn (662) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513568)

You could probably get the same results with a little time management and hard-work. However nowadays there is the prominent attitude that you don't have to work hard for a long amount of time to get the results you want. So they pop some pills and study for 10 hours straight to ace a test. However of course they forget 75% of it the next day. Instead you could study a little bit everyday for a month straight and remember 90% of it.

This is why less and less credence is being given to a standard BA. Maybe it's time to rethink Standardized Testing.

Thank goodness they don't mean caffeine... (1)

Lensman (21605) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513572)

Programmers using drugs to enhance their abilities... Nahhhh.....

Thank goodness caffeine is it's own food group and not just a drug....

It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion,
It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed,
The hands acquire shaking, the shaking becomes a warning,
It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion.

Re:Thank goodness they don't mean caffeine... (1)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513609)

I noticed my own work productivity was quite a bit higher when working for companies who offer free coffee. Now, I offer free coffee to my employees, and drink half a pot most days myself. The fingers shake, but I still hit the keys! It's one of the ways we Americans stay ahead :-D

Yeah, that's the party line. (1)

Grendel Drago (41496) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513573)

These psychotropics seem fairly safe

Can we put that guy in a room with the drug-control czar who says that meth will make your head rot off? I'm wondering what hoops they'll jump through to avoid saying "it's only good for you if you're buying the chemical from a large campaign contributor; otherwise, it's bad for you."

Just because it's available by prescription doesn't mean it's safer than any illegal drug. (I'm thinking marijuana for comparison here.) Remember, morphine, oxycodone and cocaine have all been legally prescribed at one point. (And are all still occasionally used in specific, rather highly controlled, circumstances.)

A... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513578) with a fluffy tail!

You dont need drugs made in a factory! (2, Insightful)

cjmt (967208) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513586)

You want the drugs made in your body instead. Running or any other proper endurance sport and the fitness imparted can make a huge difference (I find) to your ability to focus and deal with heavy workloads. Apparently cocaine and other similar drugs mimic the effect of endorphines [] , the drugs produced by the body under heavy excercise load. Why not cut out the expensive middle man and manufacturer your own?
YMMV of course!


Seem fairly safe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#15513587)

Messing with your brain seems fairly safe to you? People used to think that XTC isn't addictive and doesn't have long term effects. Well, we know better now. Drugs are bad for you. ALL drugs. Medication is for curing illnesses. Human beings function just fine without drugging them. If it seems that a healthy human being functions better with medication, then you just haven't recognized the negative effects yet.

Re:Seem fairly safe? (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513607)

Seems your brain's been messed with enough already.

Piracetam (2, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513603)

Piracetam [] seems to have few if any side-effects, and someone I know that took it says it really helped him cram info in before a tough Cisco exam.
(No, it wasn't me.)

From my own personal experience. (1)

bubblejet (957207) | more than 8 years ago | (#15513614)

I don't know how Adderall affects people who do not have ADD/ADHD, but for me, it has nothing to do with wanting to stay awake for hours working on code. I'm not sure if there is a good way to describe this, but for me ADD without the medication means my mind is moving a mile a minute, and I can never make meaningful connections or focus on one idea. Adderall slows everything down, so I can study things carefully and form complex ideas.

I'm not saying Adderall is a miracle drug. I only take it a few times a week, because if I take it every day, I become anorexic and sleep-deprived. Also I had to get a lot of health tests last year after a few people in Canada died of sudden heart attacks from taking Adderall. If another student wanted to borrow some of my pills, I would say no, because it is a drug, and its dangerous. But I would fight for my right to take it at college, because I probably wouldn't be able to attend college at all without it.
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