Should students take 'smart' drugs?

This event has now passed.

Date: 09 January 2013
Venue: The Watershed, Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5TX
Time: 18:30 - 20:00


The use of various 'smart drugs' amongst secondary school and university students is on the rise – nearly 25% of students at some American universities report having used 'smart drugs' to help them study and improve grades. Most often this means the off-label use of prescription pharmaceuticals like Ritalin, Adderall, Strattera or Modafinil, normally prescribed for conditions like ADHD and narcolepsy.

These drugs have been shown to increase concentration, attention span, and working memory capacity. But what are the risks and ethical issues involved?

  • Is it fair that some students have access to expensive medications while others don't?
  • Do short-term gains outweigh possible long-term risks from the use of these pharmaceuticals?
  • Is there a risk of 'cognitive homogenisation' from the use of such drugs?

These, and other, ethical issues must be carefully considered as the use of cognitive enhancing smart drugs becomes more widespread and even sanctioned or encouraged.

A panel of bioethicists, psychologists, and educators will debate these and related issues in a 'Question Time' style format, with active participation from public encouraged.

Panel members include: Darian Meacham (UWE) Ruud Ter Meulen (Bristol), Chris Alford (UWE), Sylvie Allouche (Bristol), Heather Bradshaw (Oxford), Alex McKeown (Bristol).

This event is part of the Anthropotech Project, a collaboration between UWE Philosophy, The Health, Ethics, and Society Research Stream, and the Centre for Ethics in Medicine, University of Bristol.

Register is necessary - please use the UWE Online Store.

Cost: Free
Contact: Darian Meacham
E-mail: Darian.meacham@uwe.ac.uk

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