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Students using study drugs like Modafinil and Noopept ‘set to rise’, survey finds

One in ten students already admit to using them, with a quarter thinking of using in the future

Aftab Ali
Student Editor
Friday 17 June 2016 18:20 BST
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(Geoff Greer/flickr/CreativeCommons)

The number of UK students turning to study drugs to cope with exam pressure is “of deep concern” and could be set to rise as a quarter admit to thinking about using them.

So far, a startling one in ten students already admit to using such drugs such as Modafinil and Noopept.

The figures have surfaced after online forum and wiki, The Student Room, surveyed 2,000 students who say they are feeling the pressure of studying for exams.

Turning to the so-called ‘smart drugs’, students aim to boost their grades with the substances supposedly increasing focus, motivation, and decision-making. However, they are usually used to treat disorders like ADHD and narcolepsy.

Negative side effects reported include feeling anxious and jittery, acting out of character, severe migraines, and increased heart rate. One respondent told the survey: “Using Modafinil, I noticed I studied better, but I felt zoned-out generally.”

Other key findings revealed most students keep drug-taking secret from their parents, with only a third admitting to telling their parents about taking them.

The news has come just days after it was revealed thousands of undergraduates across the UK are taking banned drugs as a way to stay alert during exam time, with the Home Office advising against the taking of uncontrolled drugs like Noopept.

Non-prescription sale of Noopept was banned in the UK last month as part of a government crackdown on legal highs. However, a number of community groups on social media have suggested more students than ever before are buying it online.

Community director at The Student Room, Jack Wallington, described the results as “a shock” and “of deep concern,” adding how they show increased academic pressure is “clearly resulting in students gambling with their health to pass their exams.”

He said: “If you are a student sitting exams now, our advice would be: please do not take study drugs. They often have the reverse effect to what you are expecting and, in some cases, have worse side effects, like sleeplessness, loss of focus, and increased anxiety.

“Instead, speak to your lecturers, teachers, or parents to explain you feel things may be getting on top of you. They will want to help you.”

In addition to this, The Student Room team has recommended some practical steps, such as taking a breather, breaking down revision into smaller, five-minute bursts and, most importantly, completing past papers.

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