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Doctors should prescribe drugs to aid study academics say

13 May 2010

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School pupils should be prescribed drugs like Ritalin to help them boost their memory or capacity to stay awake in order to help them revise.

An academic at the London School of Economics, Dr Ilina Singh, said that the use of such drugs among young people has become so common that family doctors should be able to prescribe them as study aids to school pupils under the age of 18.

In the American Journal of Bioethics-Neuroscience she wrote: “Psychotropic neuroenhancement by young people under 18 is growing, and is certain to increase further with the availability of effective drugs and increasing tolerance for neuroenhancement practices.”

Along with her co-author Kelly J Kelleher she has called for “a rationale for clinical management of psychotropic drug neuroenhancers for young people” to address the difficult issues raised by teenagers given drugs to boost their learning.

GPs should be able to prescribe these substances to schoolchildren to help their ability to learn and revise the academics suggest.

Child and parents would have to be in agreement before taking these “smart” drugs as a safeguard. Doctors would have to be on the look out for so-called pushy parents who had cajoled their offspring into it.

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London School of Economics