A survey was conducted on the topic of using drugs for cognitive enhancement in 877 students in the UK and Ireland.

Use of “smart drugs” by college students appears to be increasing in the UK, and smart drugs are frequently mentioned in the media.

The study sought to measure prevalence, attitudes, purposes, and the morality of using drugs for the purpose of cognitive enhancement.

The lifetime prevalence of pharmacologic cognitive enhancement using modafinil, methylphenidate or Adderall was less than 10% among the cohort of students.

Though a majority of students were unaware or disinterested in “smart drugs”, about 1/3 of students were interested.

The survey required students to respond to the question “what is a smart drug?” Here are the results:

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The five substances most frequently identified as cognitive enhancers were:

  • caffeine pills
  • methylphenidate
  • energy drinks
  • vitamin supplements
  • modafinil.

Among those students who were familiar with cognitive enhancers, lack of availability was the most common reason for why their interest in cognitive enhancers did not convert to substance use.

45% of respondents who had considered cognitive enhancers agreed or strongly agreed that the use of cognitive enhancers for an academic edge was morally problematic.

Read more about how to use Adderall for studying.