'Academic doping' could trigger routine urine tests for exam students

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Washington, Oct 1 (ANI): Owing to the increasing use of smart drugs, or "nootropics", to boost academic performance, exam students could face routine doping tests in future, suggested a study.

Vince Cakic, of the Department of Psychology, University of Sydney, has said that despite raising many dilemmas about the legitimacy of chemically enhanced academic performance, these drugs will be near impossible to ban.

He compared the use of smartness pills with doping in competitive sports, where it is suggested that "95 percent" of elite athletes have used performance-enhancing drugs.

"It is apparent that the failures and inconsistencies inherent in anti doping policy in sport will be mirrored in academia unless a reasonable and realistic approach to the issue of nootropics is adopted," he claimed.

But, with the ready availability of these types drugs for therapeutic use, Cakic said that the prospect of urine tests for exam students has increased.

"As laughable as it may seem, it is possible that scenarios such as this could very well come to fruition in the future. However, given that the benefits of nootropics could also be derived from periods of study at any time leading up to examinations, this would also require drug testing during non-exam periods," he wrote.

"If the current situation in competitive sport is anything to go by, any attempt to prohibit the use of nootropics will probably be difficult or inordinately expensive to police effectively," he warned.

Nootropics were designed to help people with cognitive problems, such as dementia and attention deficit disorder, but students with a looming deadline have several options in hand- modafinil (Provigil), methylphenidate (Ritalin), and amphetamine (Dexedrine).

Cakic said that the impact of these drugs is as yet "modest," but more potent versions are in the pipeline.

"The possibility of purchasing 'smartness in a bottle' is likely to have broad appeal to students" seeking to gain an advantage in an increasingly competitive world, said Cakic.

The study has been published in the Journal of Medical Ethics. (ANI)

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