Eyeopener – One Pill Makes You Smarter (Response)

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: NATALIA BALCERZAK via The Eyeopener
PHOTO ILLUSTRATION: NATALIA BALCERZAK via The Eyeopener

Now that we’re back from our winter break, many of us are experiencing, once again, the stress of what school has to offer. Imagine if there was an easier method of attaining our diploma. How easy would it be to just take a pill that allows us to focus in school even after the constant all-nighters that we students have to endure to finish our assignments and readings? Actually such a pill does exist, which may be a dream come true for many students. But remember; be careful what you wish for.

During placement, my preceptor asked me to read an article that was featured on the Eyeopener. The piece was titled “One Pill Makes You Smarter” (for those interested, it is on volume 47 – Issue 14 of the Eyeopener or on their website,). While reading this article, many issues started to arise in my mind. I am writing this blog post as way to express my feelings and issues about this story with the Ryerson community.

Before anything else, I just wanted to point out that the title of this article is very misleading. The psychostimulant drugs (Dexedrine, Piracetam, Modafinil, Adderall, and Ritalin) do not raise intelligence. All they do is enhance an individual’s ability to focus and stay awake. So for students that are thinking of ordering the drugs mentioned in hopes of getting smarter, don’t even bother. All you get is insomnia.

Another concern I had with this article was that the author spent more time talking about the pros of using these so called “smart drugs” while shying away from the cons. If one were to google search these drugs, he or she would find a huge list of side-effects that would definitely get students to think otherwise about using them. For those curious, some side-effects may include mood swings, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability (Skidmore-Roth, 2013).

Furthermore, in the writing, it also mentions a place to acquire such drugs. Sure, it can be said that there is no harm in that because students can just google it. However, when a Ryerson run group starts advertising a site that sells illegal drugs, it sends a message to the community saying using such drugs is alright. Which we all know it is not. The only students that should be on these “smart drugs” are people who have been prescribed them (by the way, what makes using these drugs illegal is using them without a prescription).

Lastly, this piece does not provide the reader a good foundation on psychostimulant drug addiction due to its lack of research. When the author interviewed the psychologist in the article about addiction to these types of drugs, only generic questions were asked. By asking generic questions, it gives the reader a poor understanding about the addiction to psychostimulants. I believe the questions needed to be specific, such as, “How does each of these drugs specifically cause addiction to individuals using them?” or “Is psychological dependency just as bad as physical dependency when it comes to drug addiction?”. By asking these kinds of question, a better understanding can be developed.

All I am trying to say is that it is not alright to rely on drugs in order to succeed in school, especially when it looks like it’s the norm today. It’s hard not to believe that students that are pulling off 4.0 GPAs while high are not capable of pulling off the same GPA when not on the drug. When students have to rely on these “smart drugs” to focus and stay awake, it is most likely because poor time-management. University is supposed to be tough but if you’re here right now, you’re capable of getting through it, especially without the use of “smart drugs”.

By: Jayson Llarinas

Reference

            Skidmore-Roth. (2013) Mosby’s drug guide for nursing students (10th ed.). Netherlands, Amsterdam: Elsevier