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Many Scientists Using Performance Enhancing Drugs

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the redefining-abuse dept.

Biotech 955

docinthemachine is one of several readers to send word of a new poll published in Nature showing unprecedented levels of cognitive performance-enhancing drug abuse by top academic scientists. The poll, conducted among subscribers to Nature, surveyed 1,400 scientists from 60 nations (70% from the US). 20% reported using performance-enhancing drugs. Among the drug-using population, 62% used Ritalin, 44% used Provigil, and 15% used beta-blockers like Inderal. Frequency of use was evenly divided among those who used drugs daily, weekly, monthly, and once a year. All such use without a prescription is illegal.

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955 comments

No, it's not drug abuse. (5, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025376)

...poll published in Nature showing unprecedented levels of cognitive performance-enhancing drug abuse by top academic scientists...

It is "drug abuse" when drugs are used without the informed consent of an individual; it is simply "illegal drug use" (and very likely legislative abuse of personal liberties at the same time) when an adult makes an informed choice about drug use that doesn't comply with the current law.

People need to move away from the mindset where media pompously and wrongly attributes polar positions such as "right and wrong" and "use and abuse" to be a 100% lexical replacement for "legal and illegal." Anyone with any sense at all knows better than that. A significant number of the laws on the books in the country I live in (the USA) are inherently wrong, outright un- or anti-constitutional, or something even worse. Using them to define what is "right" leads directly to behaviors that are despicable — or worse.

One can be cynical and simply say that this is because our legislators aren't very good at their jobs. Both from the standpoint of making good law in the first place, and also in the sense that they seem to be almost incapable of admitting they made a mistake and taking bad law off the books. Personally, I think it's because they're not very good at liberty — and very good indeed at lawmaking.

There's an old saw that goes, "never attribute to malice what can be explained by incompetence", but I think in the case of bad law, we are indeed looking at malice aforethought. It seems to me that these people have agendas that can only be construed to be "for the people" if you slept through history class and have never read any of the founding documents with any interest. Like most Americans. :(

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (2, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025464)

People need to move away from the mindset where media pompously and wrongly attributes polar positions such as "right and wrong" and "use and abuse" to be a 100% lexical replacement for "legal and illegal." Anyone with any sense at all knows better than that. A significant number of the laws on the books in the country I live in (the USA) are inherently wrong, outright un- or anti-constitutional, or something even worse. Using them to define what is "right" leads directly to behaviors that are despicable — or worse.

This is "your opinion". What is right and wrong will always be a subjective and philosophical definition. Laws are made when a majority who are elected, hold the same philosophical beliefs create and vote for them. If you don't like the laws, participate in the voting and hope your candidate of choice wins. That is what society is.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (5, Funny)

timster (32400) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025582)

What is right and wrong will always be a subjective and philosophical definition.

I don't agree with that in the least.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1, Interesting)

DogDude (805747) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025628)

What's "right" and "wrong" in regards to what I do to my own body has nothing to do with society. It's nobody's business but my own.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (3, Insightful)

bagboy (630125) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025682)

What's "right" and "wrong" in regards to what I do to my own body has nothing to do with society. It's nobody's business but my own.
Not when it affects those in society. Ie, if you overdose and cannot afford health insurance, are rushed to the ER and tax payer money pays for your treatment and recovery, then it is our business.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (3, Insightful)

Applekid (993327) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025884)

Not when it affects those in society. Ie, if you overdose and cannot afford health insurance, are rushed to the ER and tax payer money pays for your treatment and recovery, then it is our business.
I would heartlessly argue that someone who's rushed to the ER because they were partying too hard and spending all their money on drugs instead of health insurance shouldn't be treated with the bill paid by society's safety net the same way as, say, a homeless person hit by a car should be treated.

That whole "my body my business" should cut both ways when you have the means by which to abuse said body.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (5, Insightful)

B'Trey (111263) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025904)

Horsefeathers. You (that is, society) assumed that burden on its own. It doesn't place any obligations on me. It's as if I decided to come over and mow your lawn for you. You'd probably be delighted that you didn't have to do it yourself anymore.(1) But if, six months later, I came banging on your door and demanded that you stop allowing your kids to play in your own back yard because they were leaving toys laying around that made it harder for me to mow the grass, you'd most likely tell me to take a hike.

If you don't want to pay the cost associated with my behavior, then don't pay it. If I overdose on drugs, let me lay there and die if I don't have insurance or can't pay the bill myself if you so choose. But your actions in assuming responsibility for my debts don't give you any legitimate authority over my behavior.

(1)Unless, of course, you're one of those weird people who enjoys mowing the lawn, but we're assuming for the sake of the analogy that you aren't that warped an individual.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

thePig (964303) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025786)

As long as nobody else is affected by your actions -
This could mean people on the road/ your dependents / overall society in general.
The third point can even provide the justification for the war against drugs.
Also it can explain why an individual smoking pot is a problem of the government since if there is no market, nobody will sell it.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025630)

Laws are made when a majority who are elected, hold the same philosophical beliefs create and vote for them.

What planet do you live on? Laws in the US are made when a group of lobbyists bribe *ahem* I meant, give campaign contributions to a sufficient number of politicians to ensure passage of the law.

If you don't like the laws, participate in the voting and hope your candidate of choice wins. That is what society is.

Sounds like you actually believed all that crap in Government Class in High School.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (5, Interesting)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025656)

Laws are made when a majority who are elected, hold the same philosophical beliefs create and vote for them.

Well, ideally, yes. The problem comes when those "philosophical beliefs" consist of metrics evaluating which special interest group provided them with the most benefits, which of the other legislators will trade a vote their way now, for a vote you want for pork in your distract later, how actions now will affect standing within the political party (note not with the voters, which is something else entirely), what lucrative speaking engagements will be offered post-legislative career, and so forth.

Your approach would be spot on in a situation where legislators voted along the philosophical lines that they shared truthfully with the public during a fair election process; however, that in no way describes this country. And that's not an opinion — that's a fact.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (3, Insightful)

t0rkm3 (666910) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025678)

Sort of.

However, then you get into the 'tyranny of the majority' problem. There are some things that are 'off limits' to regulation by the gov't. At least according to the philosophy under which the Constitution and the Bill of Rights were composed.

That is the problem that I have with a great deal of legislation that goes on within the US. Some of it should not be even considered, but the reading of the Constitution has become so alive that one wonders if any of the Congress Critters can catch it to read it.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025764)

But laws are never repealed. In my town, it is illegal to whack the heads off of snakes downtown. See, 100 years ago, there were boardwalks downtown instead of sidewalks. Snakes liked to live under them, it was cool, and they would stick their heads up between the boards. People would kick or wack at the heads, the snake would fall down dead, and really start stinking after a few days. Is there any reason that law still needs to be around? There are many other laws that are like that. Do they show the philisophical beliefs of the majority? (What about anti-sodomy laws in the south?)

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025828)

What is right and wrong will always be a subjective and philosophical definition.

What a quaintly 20th century notion, from back when philosophers were smart enough to reject religion but were too stupid to put biology in its place.

Is a bear eating fish right or wrong? Depending on season, of course, and from the point of view of the bear, rather than the fish.

Every species has modes of life that are more conducive to the reproductive success of individuals of that species. Humans are just another species, albeit a vastly more flexible one than most.

But to confuse "very few objectively justifiable constraints on human behaviour" with "no objectively justifiable constraints on human behaviour" is simply wrong.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

Jarjarthejedi (996957) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025864)

'What is right and wrong will always be a subjective and philosophical definition.'

'People need to move away from the mindset where media pompously and wrongly attributes polar positions such as "right and wrong" and "use and abuse" to be a 100% lexical replacement for "legal and illegal."'

I don't know about you but that's exactly what I read him as saying, that right and wrong depended on the individual (for the most part, nothing's black and white, not even the rules that say everything's gray) but legal and illegal have different meanings. Basically that illegal activities should not be called abuse, just illegal, as in illegal drug use rather than drug abuse.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

wigle (676212) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025874)

What constitutes abuse is relative to an individual's desires and interests, but what constitutes legality is not. Please recognize the distinction. Thank you.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (-1, Flamebait)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025966)

You sound like a faggot or a feminist. Human rights activist maybe?

The fact that right and wrong are subjective doesn't mean that they're just some airy-fairy thing that you can pull out of your ass as some opinion that came to you in a dream.

It means that right and wrong varies depending on the environment and situation.

Where the environment and situation are the same, right and wrong are the same.

When you're talking about societies, the first pillar of right and wrong is, does this allow us to continue to exist, does it prevent us from continuing to exist.

Democracy only works when the participants care about their society and it's continued existence. If the participants do not care about the life of the society, but only about their own narrow little view, it's wrong for a society to allow them to have a voice.

The evidence that it is wrong is that such societies destroy themselves within the span of a few generations.

A society is to a person as a person is to a cell.

It is moral and right for a cell to attempt to live.

It is not moral and right for me to be prevented from diving out of the way of an oncoming car because that action would scrape the cell off my knee.

There is a difference between tolerating those who are too weak and broken to be good and enshrining them as an example of what good is.

When those who are too weak and broken to be good attempt to subvert the larger society, they move from being tolerable to being a threat to society.

It is still be good from their perspective to attempt to defend their own existence, but it's also good from a larger perspective to attempt to prevent them by any means necessary.

If you're not capable of thinking about the world from this perspective, then you're not mature enough to be talking about what right and wrong mean.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

Princess Aurora (1134535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025620)

It is "drug abuse" when drugs are used without the informed consent of an individual
This doesn't make any sense. Even if someone is woefully addicted, it's not like they take drugs by accident--"Oh, wow, how did I somehow shoot heroin everyday for years and get so addicted? Guess someone musta played a prank on me!" Furthermore, the addiction is not an excuse to avoid calling it "abuse," because no one can really claim to know that addiction wasn't a strong possibility, unless they slept through every drug education program in their teenage years--and whose fault is that?

Would you suggest that we call what child molesters, who might not be able to help themselves, do as "illegal children touching" instead of "child abuse"?

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025702)

Get a haircut, Woody Harrelson.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025762)

It is "drug abuse" when drugs are used without the informed consent of an individual; it is simply "illegal drug use" (and very likely legislative abuse of personal liberties at the same time) when an adult makes an informed choice about drug use that doesn't comply with the current law.
Are you an idiot?
Drug abuse, by any definition of "abuse" has nothing to do with (informed) consent.

There is a range of usage patterns [wikimedia.org] .
Some might say it's perscription drug abuse if used other than as perscribed.
But generally speaking, drug use becomes abuse when there are negative health/social consequences.

Under your idiotic definition, a fully informed heroin junkie isn't abusing drugs.

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025850)

One can be cynical and simply say that this is because our legislators aren't very good at their jobs. Both from the standpoint of making good law in the first place, and also in the sense that they seem to be almost incapable of admitting they made a mistake and taking bad law off the books. Personally, I think it's because they're not very good at liberty â" and very good indeed at lawmaking.
I get pissed off at speed limit laws, when people act like as soon as you break the speed limit then you're going to kill someone (maybe just yourself, but the idea is there that as long as you're within the speed limit you're driving "safely"). Of course I realise that a speed limit of 70mph on a motorway is a good level for a learner driver as it means even with unrefined steering technique and poorer observational skills then they're more likely to drive within their limits, but drivers with more training (for example police drivers) get taught how to drive at up to speeds of 160mph on these same roads (when conditions are suitable). Having just been caught speeding recently I am not looking forward to going to court. I accept I was breaking the law but most of me is just annoyed how hypocritical the system is when police are allowed to do 160mph. There isn't really any way of being able to easily identify which drivers are more highly trained or experienced though so the only limit that can be practically enforced is the lowest common denominator. A lot of the law is probably like that, as you are seeing. Not everyone can be 'trusted' to make sensible choices about the use of drugs. People have varying metabolisms so what is a sensible use for one person may not be for another and so on, but in order to protect people from themselves, a law is put in place. I don't like it, but I can't think of any better way to do things. If speed limits were removed on motorways.. hmm well Germany manages it I guess, so obviously some governments are happy to do it as long as it's on a road which has been designed for high speed. I guess I have no point to make :P

Re:No, it's not drug abuse. (1)

vokyvsd (979677) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025886)

Are alcoholics not "alcohol abusers?" It seems to me that they are defining "abuse" as falling outside of medically approved use, not legal standards.

And again, I don't think that "use and abuse" were being used as lexical replacements for "legal and illegal," but rather "healthy and unhealthy." (In the sense that the current medical establishment has fiat to determine what is and isn't healthy.)

Your connection of the evils of the U.S. legislature to the use of the phrase " drug abuse" by a British science publication is tenuous at best.

What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025390)

We prescribe these drugs to millions of kids who most likely have nothing "wrong" with them, and people have a problem when some adults do the same thing?

This isn't athletics. The point isn't fairness. The point is advancing the science. I have serious doubts that these drugs are actually helping anybody do research who didn't already have some kind of problem, but it's none of our damn business, either.

Re:What's the problem? (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025418)

It is when they are using taxpayer grants to fund their research.

Re:What's the problem? (5, Insightful)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025500)

What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Are you trying to suggest that attention-enhancing drugs actually make people DUMBER? I tried using them once. It was probably the most productive night of academia I've ever had. I wouldn't do it again, but what business is it of yours?

Suppose the fellow goes home at night and has a few too many glasses of scotch. Suppose he has threesomes with sluts. Suppose he does any number of things you don't personally like. Are you gonna take away his funding for that, too?

Re:What's the problem? (4, Funny)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025602)

So, *cough* which drug did you use? I have a test coming up...;)

Re:What's the problem? (5, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025872)

That sort of report usually relates to any of the amphetamine relatives or methylphenidate (ritalin) relatives (the two are related but not the same). By amphetamine relatives, I include amphetamine, methamphetamine, dexedrine, Adderall (mixed amphetamine salts), and some others. Methylphenidates include Ritalin and Focalin and some others. Brand names vary, especially by country.

All the amphetamine derivatives have the same mode of action in the brain, but they aren't all "the same." Delivery route (oral, injected, insufflated, smoked) matters, as does the specific salt (eg amphetamine sulfate vs amphetamine hydrochloride). These have an impact on how rapidly your body absorbs the drug, and therefore the response vs time curve. Extended release versions also exist (Adderall XR, Concerta (methylphenidate)), which has a similar effect -- the duration is extended, and the response vs time curve flattened (generally considered a good thing -- the response varying with time is generally not what you want).

As always... don't take without a prescription. If you must take it without a prescription, you're much safer buying illicit Adderall than street meth, and you'll probably like the results better too (especially for functional, rather than recreational, purposes). Use an appropriate dosage (aka do your research), realize that the effect will be stronger in someone who doesn't take it regularly, and be aware of what drugs it reacts badly with. (Most notably, avoid mixing stimulants to excess, though the results of mixing with weak ones like caffeine won't surprise you. Do not, under any circumstances, mix stimulants with MAOIs (some antidepressants, possibly other uses) -- that can be fatal.)

I'm not a doctor, this is not medical advice. Don't take drugs you haven't researched. Taking them without a prescription is likely illegal. In general: do your research before taking them, and be really sure you know what you're taking!

Erowid [erowid.org] is a great place to start said research, though it's more geared toward recreational / spiritual / exploratory drug use. Wikipedia has a lot of good info. In any case, beware of inaccuracies.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

Hellad (691810) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025758)

"Suppose the fellow goes home at night and has a few too many glasses of scotch. Suppose he has threesomes with sluts. Suppose he does any number of things you don't personally like. Are you gonna take away his funding for that, too?" What I want to know is why am I funding his threesomes with sluts and his scotch? I can barely afford one slut!

Re:What's the problem? (4, Funny)

StaticEngine (135635) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025798)

Only if that funding is in direct competition with my own slut-related research.

Re:What's the problem? (2, Interesting)

qwertphobia (825473) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025522)

Good point. I think anyone doing research with public money should do their research as efficiently as possible. Don't let those silly FDA guidelines get in the way.

Is that your stance, too? It's hard to tell from your post.

It would be interesting to see how many of the research is being done in the areas of pharmaceuticals and/or cognitive functions.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

fyngyrz (762201) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025536)

It is when they are using taxpayer grants to fund their research.

Yes, that's certainly true. You would want research you pay for to be done at the fastest and most effective way possible, so as to maximize your ROI. So you make an excellent case for the use of cognitive enhancement.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

The Anarchist Avenge (1004563) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025568)

So then we should probably just make it illegal for them to drink, smoke cigarettes, or use motor vehicles too. All of those can harm them as well.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025594)

That logic sort of falls apart very easily. People utilize taxpayer funds to facilitate going to work everyday. That doesn't somehow change the rules about privacy. We all depend on the state in one way or another, but that doesn't magically make every action I undertake a legitmate subject for public discourse and requiring of public approval.

Re:What's the problem? (3, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025608)

How do you figure? I mean, they should be getting grants because they're good at what they do, right? If the drugs are a part of that, then they're a part of the reason the guy is getting the grant in the first place.

Somebody said it above; this isn't sports. It's not "cheating" to use a performance enhancing drug in your job. Most of us are addicted to a common one: caffeine. That's considered perfectly normal, but if you're using Provigil without a prescription its a wholly different thing.

The problem is one of perception. Some things are "drugs" and shouldn't be "abused", and some other things that seemingly belong in that category as well...aren't there.

Re:What's the problem? (2, Insightful)

dpninerSLASH (969464) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025596)

These drugs aren't making Rhodes Scholars out of an imbeciles, they're simply being used to enhance existing skills. And as the parent poster mentioned, we're all benefiting in some form or another by this.

It is also possible that the sciences are a more attractive field for people who truly do need to take these types of medications, so the disproportionately high percentage of users in that area may actually be closer to reality than the article would have you believe.

As a learning tool this is a near perfect example of a truly victimless "crime."

Re:What's the problem? (2, Insightful)

Princess Aurora (1134535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025936)

Those of us who are trying to compete with these people are being harmed. Now you put us in a bad position--take them too, or fall behind. Is that fair to us? We don't get a choice in whether we actually want to take these--take them, or don't have a career. Why should I have to risk my body because someone else is? Maybe my body can't handle these drugs and they'll kill me at 40, and not that other person.

It'd be like if you HAD to drive 130 mph on the freeway to keep up with traffic. Sure, you could not drive that fast, but that's dangerous--you're like the guy driving 40 in a 70 mph zone. You might not be comfortable at that speed (or even capable of handling the car at that speed), and by driving that fast, you're putting yourself at a high risk. In that way, the decisions of the other people force you to make a choice between two bad things: drive too fast and risk your safety, or drive "too slow" and risk your safety.

Re:What's the problem? (4, Insightful)

Gat0r30y (957941) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025860)

This isn't athletics. The point isn't fairness.
Alright, predictions folks. How long until the Math team / Debate team / Model UN have to pee in a cup to prove they aren't taking "Brain Enhancing" Drugs? I set the over under at 5 years.

And what about... (5, Insightful)

EricR86 (1144023) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025410)

Caffeine anyone?

Re:And what about... (2, Funny)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025530)

AsformeIcouldprobablyuseless.I'monmy4thcupalready.

Re:And what about... (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025556)

Yes please.

Re:And what about... (5, Interesting)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025618)

I actually do use caffeine specifically for performance enhancement. Its effects on norepinephrine levels in the brain are similar to that of amphetamines, though far less severe.

Re:And what about... (1)

OhPlz (168413) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025740)

I had no idea there were drugs in my coffee, I swear!

Re:And what about... (1)

Tobenisstinky (853306) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025934)

Extra-Large please. With Cream and sugar. Thanks!

Caffeine? (2, Funny)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025420)

Strangely absent from the list. I've known few scientists that didn't consume lots of caffeine.

Re:Caffeine? (1)

Princess Aurora (1134535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025694)

The big difference is that caffeine is legally available. If there's benefits to be had from caffeine, anyone can go out and get it legally. Here, we have researchers using drugs without a prescription, which is illegal. Anyone who wants to get this advantage has to break the law to do so.

A more akin example is if cocaine were a miracle-mind drug. If researchers were consuming that instead, would that be ok?

Re:Caffeine? (1)

pipatron (966506) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025838)

A more akin example is if cocaine were a miracle-mind drug. If researchers were consuming that instead, would that be ok?

Yes. But it isn't. So it's illegal.

Re:Caffeine? (2, Interesting)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025876)

The thing is, it's not hard to get a prescription for Provigil; just keep complaining of tiredness to your doctor until he prescribes it...Is he going to tell you you're lying about it?

I don't know of any serious side-effects other than those attendant on other stimulants. It's been out for about 25 years, so you'd think they would have shown up by now, so the cocaine analogy is flawed. If caffeine was illegal, would consuming it be okay?

Obviously (1)

scubamage (727538) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025426)

Obviously these people are a terrible criminal element and must be made examples of. For the glory of the war on drugs!

Re:Obviously (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025646)

God made humans perfect. To say that someone can take a drug and be smarter is an abomination against god. An artificial element can only push men closer to satan and away from their natural perfection.

(The above was my best effort at emulating the religious fundamentalism in this country that drives the war on drugs)

Off-label (5, Insightful)

Raindance (680694) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025430)

The blurb makes it sound as if all this use is illegal. I would imagine most isn't: most of these people will have prescriptions but are using them for off-label purposes. Which is legal.

Re:Off-label (1)

pclminion (145572) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025442)

You can use it off-label if the doctor ordered you to. Basically, you have to use it in the manner the doctor prescribed it. The prescription might be for an off-label use, but you still must obey the prescription, whatever it is.

Re:Off-label (1)

Princess Aurora (1134535) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025802)

The blurb makes it sound as if all this use is illegal. I would imagine most isn't: most of these people will have prescriptions but are using them for off-label purposes.
Do you really believe that 62% of these top-academic people have a disorder that legitimately warrants the prescription of Ritalin? Even if they do have a perscription, is it needed, or did they just get an MD they know to write it for them, with everyone figuring that no one is going to suspect a top researcher of drug abuse? And even if they did, how could someone prove that the perscription was written for enhancement purposes?

This just in... (1)

biased_estimator (1222498) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025434)

This just in: people use drugs.

Punishment (4, Funny)

boristdog (133725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025448)

So, will they take away your Nobel if you've been found to use science-enhancing drugs?

Re:Punishment (1)

svandoren (1076277) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025480)

So, will they take away your Nobel if you've been found to use science-enhancing drugs?
Science-enhancing drugs? Aren't those called religions?

Re:Punishment (1)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025696)

I thought religion was the opposite?

Re:Punishment (1)

NekSnappa (803141) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025882)

No it gets an asterisk painted on it when some knuckle head designer buys it from your estate.

'Cause you know with all of that drug use you are bound to die early, and broke.

We may have to add many an asterix... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025454)

...next to many of the Nobel entries.

Sounds like a congressional hearing may be in order. It has been reported that Kip Thorne was seen injecting Hawking in the buttocks from time to time.

Not all use is illegal (4, Insightful)

Frank T. Lofaro Jr. (142215) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025458)

It isn't necessarily illegal to possess or use prescription medicine without a prescription unless it is a controlled substance or there are state or other laws that come into play. It is illegal to dispense it without a presecription.

Inderal is not a controlled substance.

Re:Not all use is illegal (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025750)

While in college I knew a few people who would sell off their ritalin pills, prescribed to them, to friends who would use them during long study periods or to write papers or take tests. Selling it was probably illegal but I doubt many people would be up in arms about it. I never really considered them that bad since they are really serving their purpose by letting you focus if you can't. Plus how many kids these days are diagnosed false positively ADD/ADHD?

Re:Not all use is illegal (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025774)

It's really unfortunate when it is. My apartment was raided by the police because my roommates (whom I did not elect to live with, but was placed with) were relatively heavy drug dealers. The police found a single adderall pill stuck in the corner of one of my drawers that I had completely forgotten about. I had tried adderall about three times and, although it helped me study, it wasn't worth the disruption to my sleep habits (it gives you horrible insomnia). I threw the last pill I had in a drawer and forgot about it. The pill had been there for about six months.

While I won't be serving any jail time, my future as I intended it is more or less over. I'm currently a convicted felon serving three years probation, having to attend an intensive drug rehab course, and worst of all, I lost my federal aid that was helping pay for my grad school. Once you include the legal fees, the loss of my state entitlements, and the loss of my federal aid, I am currently looking at around a $30,000 price tag that I can't afford because of a single pill that was found because of a search that wasn't even my fault. More than likely, I will have to withdraw from grad school after this semester, despite being less than a year away from completing my PhD.

Beta blockers? (2, Interesting)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025474)

Most beta blockers [wikipedia.org] are used as a treatment for high blood pressure. Surely the stress levels that these scientists experience would justify that kind of prescription.

Re:Beta blockers? Yep (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025576)

Actually, lots of people use beta-blockers as a performance enhancer. The most common use is for musicians who have to do an audition. Beta-blockers really reduce any shakes that may ruin a performance.

I had a prescription for years to treat familial tremors. The drug worked well but tended to make me drowsy so I quit. As I get older, the shakes get worse and I may have to go back on them. C'est la vie. (shrugs)

Re:Beta blockers? (1)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025844)

Beta blockers are a 2nd choice for hypertension most cases. 1st choice is a diuretic or angiotensin inhibitor, fewer side effects. The side effects aren't potentially lethal, but you need to use them under the supervision of a doctor just to make sure they, like don't slow your heart down so much it stops.

A friend with hypertension who takes them says they have the same effect as weed on his mood - so he takes his dose right before he heads out on his daily freeway commute, and no road rage!

Re:Beta blockers? (3, Interesting)

laurier57 (1181021) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025958)

Beta blockers are often used by public speakers or those presenting papers as it prevents many of the physical effects of performance anxiety--red in the face, sweating, clamminess--so they can at least appear and feel composed enough to say whatever they're saying.

Their evil plans were foiled yet again. (3, Funny)

jameskojiro (705701) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025478)

By this strange scrawney man with black rimmed glases in a tan trenchcoat wearing sneakers and waving around a metal tool with a blue glowing end.

The man was apparently muttering about some kind of oil that supposedly made the brain work faster or some such nonsense.

His accomplices included a blonde bimbo, a middle aged woman resembling a sturng out housewife, her young ethnic lover, and a poorly put together RC dog.

Over in liberal arts.... (2, Funny)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025504)


Performance enhancing means Viagra.... no wonder kids aren't doing science.

Scientists don't use drugs (1)

ZuluZero (1159015) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025506)

They "test" them.

QOTD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025540)

Wow, the quote of the day actually fits the article.

Obviously I was either onto something, or on something. -- Larry Wall on the creation of Perl

Oh great... (4, Funny)

MrKevvy (85565) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025554)

Does this mean there will be mandatory drug testing at the Science Olympiad [soinc.org] ?

Just what was in Albert Einstein's pipe [wayodd.com] ?

And how did Stephen Hawking really end up in that wheelchair?

My confidence is shattered. :^p

Re:Oh great... (5, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025644)

Just what was in Albert Einstein's pipe?

or his hair?
             

Coffee (1)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025560)

IIIIssss ccc ooofffeeeee aaaa ppperfommmance eeeenhancingggg drug????? Bbbbeeccausse IIII fffeelll fasster....

5-HTP (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025564)

I find that 5-HTP helps me a great deal. It's a precursor of serotonin.

When I'm on it, I not only feel sharper, more alert, and better able to remember fine details, but I'm also better able to read social cues and interact with people. 5-HTP is perfectly legal, and can be purchased at general online or brick-and-mortar health stores.

Adderall (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025580)

I don't know why anyone would take this unless they needed to. I took it for 6 years and it was horrible each day. Not eating, weighing 145 pounds starting college at 6 foot 1 inches. Dilated pupils constantly, insomnia, muscle twitches, impotency, and so many more for all those years. It was horrible. I just don't get it why anyone would want to use these drugs. The last time I took Adderall was my last exam in college and I don't plan on ever taking them again. I'll just learn to deal with ADD some other way.

I can relate... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025584)

I came up with a theory of everything while on LSD once or twice... actually come to think of it every time I took acid. Unfortunately my notes were always undecipherable once the effects of the drug had worn off.

Does caffeine count as well? (1)

Idaho (12907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025590)

If caffeine counts as well I'm sure the percentage would be close to 100% :P

(it is a brain-boosting drug, isn't it...?)

Why stiff sentences for Ghetto Youth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025592)

and not even a slap on the wrist for these lily white nerds??

Some inner city kid dealing to stay alive or using gets locked up for serious time in tough prisons. Yet these geek scientists are abusing drugs and nothing happens. Seems to be a big double standard to me!!

Say what?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025606)

NOT "performance enhancing" drugs. Performance correcting drugs. The drugs listed are for ADD, ADHD, and psychological problems like bipolar disorder. This is not illegal drug use. This is prescribed medicine for people with problems. If the report was on prevalent use of PCP and cocaine in the science field I would understand. This is just chicanery.

captcha: higher
Hawhaw

Re:Say what?! (1)

QuoteMstr (55051) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025692)

These drugs help people whether they have the indicated "disease" or not.

And how many are legally used? (2, Insightful)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025612)

You say those without a prescription are doing it illegally. Well, how many are legally taking these medications as prescribed by a physician?

Inderal is a cheap beta blocker ($4 for a month's supply) commonly used for the treatment of hypertension and various heart diseases. It can also be used on an as-needed basis for stage fright.

Adult ADHD may be treated with Ritalin. If people are prescribed these medicines, then no foul.

Drug Testing (1)

ch-chuck (9622) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025626)

Now they'll have to start testing Nobel Prize winners to see if they cheated by using performance enhancing drugs.

It's not fair to others and sends the wrong message to young scientists.

So you mean to tell me... (1)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025650)

... that "that stuff" has been right here in the possession of my own peers and friends all this time !?

And to think of all the times I had to drive half way across town !

What a bunch of loosers... (1, Funny)

Yaa 101 (664725) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025674)

What a bunch of loosers to take chemical corporate drugs, while they could smoke a nice joint instead.

Re:What a bunch of loosers... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025730)

What a bunch of loosers[sic] to take chemical corporate drugs, while they could smoke a nice joint instead.

The idea is to get smarter, not end up like you and your spelling deficit.

I Want the Mitchell Report on my Desk... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025902)

by next Friday! Scientists won't be given the excuse that a colleague has "misremembered" something. Hah, take that science!

Roger Clemens-1
Scientists-1???

Ahem (1)

Plazmid (1132467) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025726)

I would like to note that this was an online survey done in an informal setting. It has just about as much worth as any slashdot survey.

Use significant, abuse a problem... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025728)

I'm a research scientist at a top-10 uni, just made assoc. professor.

While I would not say problems from use of anything "harder" than caffeine is wildly rampant, I was involved in a case with an undergraduate student who had some very severe issues with provigil (modafanil.) It was prescribed for "ADHD" in this (otherwise bright IMHO), and she simply noted her improvement, and started taking it excessively, ultimately sleeping very few hours and irregularly. After a period of great improvement she failed three successive exams and had to take some time off.

It is an anecdote, I know, but talking with the dean and admins at the undergrad part of my uni they see 20-30 cases per year of academic downfall associated with prescription stimulant use. Of course, who knows what these kids would have done *without* the drug, but the pattern of use / dependence / excessive use / "crash" is pretty established.

Among my friends / colleagues (mainly in their mid 30's) I would agree about 2/3 have tried something like ritalin or modafanil, primarily to stay up late. Personally, I keep myself on pretty low doses of caffeine so I can still use the 3 cans of mountain dew to keep up before a grant application is due, etc.

Own concoctions? (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025768)

I wonder how many of those scientists made their own concoctions? And would it be illegal drug abuse?

Adderall XR (3, Interesting)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025794)

I use Adderall damn that drug is addictive. I can stay up all night then take that and I feel good as new an hour later. Plus it has the benefit for me of allowing me to concentrate better and get more work done. It also stops me from clicking the damn stumbleupon button for hours on end. With it I get twice as much work done and can think twice as well.

Please note I do have a prescription for it and I dont even need to fake ADD to get it, just he gives me a slightly higher dose than I might need.

Fairness (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025800)

It's not fair that there are men who are by nature able to get far more physically fit than I ever could without using steroids. It's not fair that there are people who have better minds than I do.

But then again, life's not fair. You can either be happy with what you have, or spend your time moping like a 2 year old that it's not fair that someone is better than you can ever be at something. Given the effects of most of any type of "performance enhancing drugs" why would you ever lose sleep over being beaten by someone who uses them? Give them 20-30 years of use and see if they're still all that.

Re:Fairness (4, Insightful)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025880)

But then again, life's not fair.

So if life's not fair, why ban "cheating" with drugs? Cheating is part of being unfair.

All such use without a prescription is illegal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23025818)

Did the author check the laws governing prescription drugs in all 60 countries before making that statement?

It's not science, it is business (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025822)

Plain and simple.

1. The criterion of science changed very much since Roger Bacon.
2. Majority of people in science are seeing it not as a quest for knowledge, but a race for grants, recognition, fame, fortune, "pursuit of happiness" (waLlahi, I hate that concept), whatever but true knowledge.
3. Corruption: putting down submitted manuscripts, because the author belongs to the competing school, stealing ideas from submitting manuscripts, plagiarism, plain forgery of experimental results, supporting whatever baseless theoretical crap that comes from your camp.
4. Exploitation. Postdocs are exploited like slaves.
5. Most of what is called science, is not science, it's plain vanilla technology. It might seem "potatoes/potatoes" to somebody, but it's not. The motivation SHOULD be quite different.

drugs for enhancement are self-defeating (1, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025826)

taking drugs for enhancement is actually self-defeating, psychologically and philosophically. you can cut at the issue with two simple questions: how much of what you do is you? how much of it is the drug?

philosophically speaking, you lose some of your identity when you self-enhance. if you don't buy my argument, i have two words for you: barry bonds. the guy was a great athlete and probably would have made a huge impact on baseball without steroids. now you tell me what his legacy is. what would his legacy be without steroids? you say he would have achieved less physically? ok, but at least whatever he achieved be his own, and not due to a drug, which therefore tarnishes his legacy and diminishes it, to something less than what he would have achieved without steroids

the issue may seem trivial or laughable, but its not. because you not only alter how the world sees you and your accomplishments, you also alter your own self-perception, permanently and negatively. when you alter how you view yourself, you alter your sense of identity, your individualism, your sense of self-regard and your will. if you shortchange yourself, if you tell yourself that some of what you do or did is because of a drug, instead of your own creativity, perseverence, hard work, charm, etc., then you permanently diminish your own sense of self-regard. on this issue alone, enhancement through drugs is not worth it. because it's one thing to cheat and never get caught. its another to cheat, never get caught, but always know yourself that you are a fake. or even if steroids for sports or brain enhancement for science work were 100% socially acceptable: you still have to deal with how you have altered how yourself view your own accomplishments as being a product of something that is not 100% your own

i am not talking about habituation or addiction, i am talking about altering the perception of self, and belittling your own contributions. it's a psychological and philosophical trap: you eventually wind up seeking the drug to BE yourself, rather than to ENHANCE yourself. show me someone who says "no, i can always keep those two issues separate," and i'll show you someone who is low on the self-awareness scale and is in fact most vulnerable to this subtle weakening of self-regard and self-identification

get drunk, smoke marijuana, hey whatever. taking drugs for recreation is actually an act of blotting out the self, destroying oneself temporarily, for the sake of freeing the id and having pleasure. and therefore, this is behavior that is not what i am arguing against in this comment and therefore i am not your typical "just say no to drugs" prude

what i am saying is that if you do any drug to heighten yourself, you achieve the opposite: you denigrate and diminish a sense of self. it is psychologically and philosophically unavoidable. drugs do not enhance life, they blot it out. for recreation, this is fine. but in any aspect of yourself where you should be emphasizing your own contributions, enhacing yourself, you wind up in the end doing psychological harm in the realm of self-regard, removing oneself from your own calculation to yourself about how much you matter and how much you yourself change in this world, rather than some drug

HEY, THEY'RE LEARNING TOO MUCH! (1)

spazdor (902907) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025832)

Let's get 'em!

Headline of the Future... (3, Funny)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025840)

In today's news, Berry Dexter Bonds was informed that his three Nobel prizes for curing cancer and inventing a practical flying car will be revoked. Drug testing revealed that banned brain-enhancing substances were in his bloodstream just prior the prize ceremony. Testing has been standard procedure for the Nobel ceremonies since it was discovered that the inventor of the brain-enhancing drug, IQtrophine, used it to win a Nobel prize for curing the common cold.

It has also been revealed that Steven Nash of the Phoenix Suns NBA team has been taking brain enhancing drugs to help him make smarter, more accurate ball passes. One side effect is that it stunted his growth. College photos revealed that he used to be taller than Shaquille O'Neal. "I wasn't making it as a center, so I decided to become the Mother of All Point Guards", he said at a news conference.
     

Not unlike banning athletes with prosthetic limbs. (1)

mmell (832646) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025870)

So, do we throw away any discoveries or inventions which result from use/misuse/abuse of thought-performance enhancing drugs? Ban depressed/epileptic/psychotic individuals from practicing science because their prescribed drug use gives them an unfair advantage over we poor, unenhanced human beings?

As with many other areas of human endeavor, it'll be necessary for our social understanding to evolve to match our technological evolution in order for us to correctly analyze and act upon the previously unencountered situations which are going to arise from our continued growth as a species.

So do we have to unlearn all our Science? (3, Funny)

wsanders (114993) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025894)

I mean, if you learned something from a professor who was under the influence of performance enhancing drugs, do you have to forget it?

Wow! Overwhelming negative response. (1)

Bovius (1243040) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025918)

I've been looking for a comment that affirms that using a prescription for non-prescription purposes is a bad thing - I expected someone to hold that position. But the responses so far have been humorous, tangential, or specifically denouncing the idea that it's wrong.

Huh! So let's take a specific example: do you think it's okay to take Ritalin to give yourself a couple of hours of extra study time, regardless of whether it's been prescribed to you? (One of the side effects of Ritalin is that it keeps you awake a few hours after you've taken it.) And if you've done it, would you be willing to admit it in public?

Provigil (1)

nbritton (823086) | more than 6 years ago | (#23025928)

I can vouch for Provigil... Great stuff... It's like drinking a pot of coffee, without the jitters. It's a DEA schedule IV drug with limited abuse potential, prescription sleeps aids are also schedule IV.
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