December 16, 2008

From Elise Wade:

Re: Brain drugs for healthy people OK: scientists (Dec. 7): When I first started reading this article, I thought it was a parody. Then I realized it was a serious suggestion. Since these very “smart” guys haven’t figured it out, here are three big problems with this idea:

1. What do you mean subtle pressure? I am well familiar with the pressure involved in academics, and I can assure you there will be absolutely NOTHING subtle about this pressure. Unless you have a boat-load of money, private colleges are way too expensive without a scholarship -- and most scholarships are awarded today on the basis of academic success. And even public colleges are getting too expensive for many qualified students. If these drugs become legal -- even encouraged, an average, but hard-working student can pretty much kiss that academic scholarship goodbye unless they take the drugs. That will, inevitably spill over into certain professions as well. Want that plum job? You take the drug. If you don’t desperate would be H1B and outsourcers will. (And they will pay less for it too. )

2. Not every one can tolerate these drugs. Over time, they are less effective. They can have odd side effects like causing you to bite your tongue, or have odd facial ticks. The up and down of taking stimulants can trigger clinical depression in otherwise healthy people. (Oooh the drug companies will LOVE that!) Most people “crash” when the drug wears off; that is most unpleasant. And, these drugs are addictive -- you cannot stop taking them without withdrawal. Withdrawal is way worse in some that others. Read any website for ADHD treatments -- that isn’t sponsored by a drug company -- and you will find out just how bad these drugs are for some folks. We don’t have to study this; we already know this.

3. It’s an inappropriate use of healthcare dollars even if it were safe to do this on a large scale. We don’t vaccinate all of our kids, screen for cancer and follow up with early treatment, or even mangage chronic dieases like diabeties and heart disease very well. Now we want to take more money for people who do not need treatment? Or, rather, they won’t need treatment until they start taking these drugs.

These guys just think it would be cool to pop pills that would make them “smarter”. I’m sure they think making themselves and others “smarter” is really very important. So much more important than so many other basic things that will be slighted for this hair-brained plan. If these guys were actually really smart in a way that matters, they wouldn’t even suggest such a travesty.


Post a Comment

<< Home