Ritalin – Smart Drugs: The Temptation of Overdrafting Life

In mid-January 2010, during a joint investigation by Taipei police and the Education Bureau and other agencies on January 8, a 54-year-old teacher was suspected of giving Ritalin, a Level 3 controlled drug, to students in a cram school. The teacher publicly stated that this was done to allow the children to concentrate and not make any noise. Anyone with a little medical knowledge knows that Ritalin, commonly known as “smart drug”, has been used in many countries to treat ADHD in children. However, it has been proven to increase the risk of death and physical and mental harm to users. Later, it gradually Use is prohibited. Ritalin belongs to the first category of psychotropic drugs in China. (Note: In Taiwan, Ritalin is a Class 3 controlled drug and is approved for use in the treatment of hyperactive infant syndrome and narcolepsy with correct diagnosis by a physician and low dosage.)

Students in many European and American countries regard it as a “relief elixir.” Before every college exam, you can always see people selling “smart drugs” in the corridors of American campuses. Its effect is very obvious. According to one user, after just a few minutes, he can feel significantly more focused, reading and memorizing faster. “I feel like a fully charged battery!” Users who are gradually addicted Ritalin and other IQ stimulants are collectively referred to as “Brain Viagra.”

Pill believe have super mental power?

This state is very tempting for many young people: take a pill and have super mental power. There is no need for sleep and rest at all, the brain will keep running at high speed like a motor for a long time. Rely on its magic to win in exams, speeches or interviews, and a bright future opens in front of these young people. Ambition and desire make people ignore the side effects. According to a survey by the German Medicines Agency, 2 million people in Germany have taken drugs at least once to “speed up” the brain, and 800,000 people take drugs regularly.

Worryingly, this trend has already spread. First of all, the expansion of the population of taking it. Originally it was only spread among students. Later, some teachers, writers, scientific researchers, stock market operators, symphony orchestra musicians, etc. also joined in; secondly, its globalization trend. The famous scientific magazine “Nature” Survey of 1,400 respondents in 60 countries, one in five people have tried taking drugs to improve concentration, memory and reaction speed.

Drug considered as “Brain Viagra”

Drug manufacturers have long known the strong market potential and have invested billions of dollars in the research, development and production of various “Brain Viagra” worldwide. In 2008 alone, Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis’ sales of Ritalin drugs reached US$4.4 billion. Its competitor Johnson & Johnson’s sales in the third quarter of 2008 reached US$2.84 billion. Under the trend of money, the scientific community is non-stop developing new drugs with better efficacy and greater effects. They also promote through different channels that such drugs have no obvious side effects. The current death cases are not directly caused by the drugs, but by the users themselves suffering from serious diseases. The U.S. and German governments have established task forces for this type of drug to track the responses of some users over a long period of time, but it will take time to figure out what side effects they have on the brain and overall health.

These users are not unaware of the side effects of “Brain Viagra”: sleep disorders, increased heart load, constant anxiety and strong dependence on the drug. A similar mass addiction incident occurred in a middle school in Pennsylvania, USA: Altruism spread in a certain class. At first, students only took it before exams, two tablets a day. Later, everyone became dependent on the drug to varying degrees. Some people I actually have to take 20 tablets a day to feel “comfortable” again.

Neuroscientists have not yet concluded how “Brain Viagra” affects the brain. One thing that is certain is that Ritalin can increase dopamine, the “happy substance” in the nervous system, making people concentrate. In the same class, middle school students have the most obvious effect after taking it, because their original problem lies in their study habits. It is not a true “smart drug” because it can only improve people’s attention but cannot fundamentally improve their intelligence. Therefore, altruism can be used clinically to treat ADHD in children, rather than organic mental retardation or other mental illnesses.

Success no longer requires extra effort, as long as they take the drug?

What people are facing now are more ethical discussions, such as the issue of equal opportunity. A person taking Viagra Brain is like a doping competitor in the Tour de France. The drug gives him the ability to defeat his opponents. Increasingly, any competition will become a competition between new drugs. This is also a philosophical question about “self”. When people take drugs, they are purposefully modifying their brains, which is where consciousness resides. Memory is an important part of “self”. If medicine can help “me” forget the unpleasant past, then am I still me? This type of drug also has an impact on the personality of the users. “They will think that success no longer requires extra effort, as long as they take the drug,” said Michel, a professor of applied psychology at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. Er Sokar turned such students who relied on drugs to win into “little slaves”.

Should parents or teachers give these drugs to their children? How can universities and high schools control the spread of doping on campus? Will it expand the size of the elite class and cause changes in the social structure? Will it lead to countries using such drugs to launch a “brain armament”? “Nature” magazine interviewed seven of the most famous scientists in the field of neuroscience. They were all skeptical and negative about “Brain Viagra” and believed that it was undoubtedly a challenge to the entire social ethical system.

Both the scientific community and ordinary people have the desire to develop the potential of the brain. Simply relying on “brain steel” is undoubtedly a poison to quench thirst. Is it really worth the risk for people to risk their future for temporary success? Professor Michel Soca advises people not to forget: “Everyone has to find a balance between external challenges and inner peace.”

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