The use of drugs by people hoping to boost mental performance is rising worldwide, finds the largest ever study of the trend. In a survey of tens of thousands of people, 14% reported using stimulants at least once in the preceding 12 months in 2017, up from 5% in 2015.
The non-medical use of substances—often dubbed smart drugs—to increase memory or concentration is known as pharmacological cognitive enhancement (PCE), and it rose in all 15 nations included in the survey. The study looked at prescription medications such as Adderall and Ritalin—prescribed medically to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)—as well as the sleep-disorder medication modafinil and illegal stimulants such as cocaine.
US respondents reported the highest rate of use: in 2017, nearly 30% said they had used drugs for PCE at least once in the preceding 12 months, up from 20% in 2015.
But the largest increases were in Europe: use in France rose from 3% in 2015 to 16% in 2017; and from 5% to 23% in the United Kingdom
The ethical concerns mentioned (and linked) in the article were discussed in 2008. Ten years later, the consumption of smart drugs is exploding.
Clearly, people are way more concerned about information processing than ethical issues or side effects.