The recent seizure by police of £200,000 worth of the drug Sunifiram is seen as evidence of the rapid increase in the use of smart drugs (nootropics). Sunifiram is a type of drug known as a Piperazine, which is believed to boost cognitive functioning and improve memory. These effects make it an appealing drug to students looking for an edge when doing exams. The problem is that Sunifiram can be a dangerous drug for both mental and physical health.
What are Smart Drugs?
Nootropics is a word used to describe any drug that improves cognitive functioning, even including relatively harmless substances such as caffeine and chocolate. The idea of taking a tablet to make yourself smarter is not a new idea, but it has become increasingly popular in recent years. The internet has made it much easier to promote and sell nootropic drugs and hit movies such as Limitless has helped create a new audience for this type of substance. People are always attracted to short cuts to things such as improved intelligence; nootropics can feel as the ultimate short cut.
There has never before been a time in history when so much of a person’s opportunities in life are dependent on intelligence. The jobs for individuals who are lacking in this department are declining all the time, as so much of this sort of work can be automated and taken over by computers or robots. The people who are creative and able to manipulate facts have the best chances of getting ahead in their careers. This means there is a great deal of pressure on individuals to find ways to boost their cognitive functioning, which can explain the increasing popularity of smart drugs.
The Danger of Smart Drugs
Many of the substances that are being sold as nootropics have not been properly tested as being suitable for this function. The most common way to purchase these substances is to go online, with these websites tending to operate in a grey area of the law – although some clearly cross the line into illegality. These sites will often mention some of the known side effects of these substances, but the goal is always to sell these products, so any risks are going to be played down. It is also the case that most of the people providing this type of information are not experts, relying on second-hand information.
The most popular nootropics (with the exception of caffeine and chocolate) have not been around long enough to have an accurate idea of how dangerous they are. There is usually no research as to what happens when people take these substances long-term and in large doses. The likelihood is that by the time such data becomes available, many will have already been harmed by the substances.
The drug Sunifiram has become a popular option with students looking for a mental boost while studying. This substance has never been tested on humans in clinical trials so anyone using it is taking a huge risk. Legally, Sunifiram should only be available by doctor’s prescription (a version of the drug is used to treat narcolepsy), but it can also be bought relatively easily online. Those who purchase the drug online are gambling with their health and can never really be sure what it is they are buying. If an online business is willing to sell Sunifiram illegally online, it does not say much for their ethical principles, so who is to say what it is they are actually selling. There are already stories of people experiencing mental health problems because of taking these substances.