Assignment: Brain and Cognitive Enhancing Drugs Essay

Submitted By mschultz16
Words: 910
Pages: 4

Moral Dilemma #2

Performance-enhancing drugs are becoming more and more prevalent in today’s society. Many of us have heard of many professional athletes taking drugs to enhance their athletic performance. Our society has determined that these drugs should not be allowed, especially in organized sports. Now, there are also drugs that affect cognitive enhancement as well. These drugs are intended for people who are prescribed them to help with learning disabilities, or to slow down symptoms of diseases such as Alzheimer’s. In chapters four and five, Gazzaniga discusses his opinions on both athletic performance enhancing drugs and cognitive enhancing drugs as it is increasingly becoming an issue in today’s world. Gazzaniga’s view appears to be somewhat of a double standard. He sees using drugs to enhance athletic or artistic performance as a form of cheating, but encourages the use and further development of cognitive performance enhancing drugs. In chapter four he implies that athletes should just have to work harder if they want to be better and stronger, because many of them likely have physical advantages to begin with. In chapter five, however, he really pushes for the further development of cognitive-enhancing drugs and believes that we should all be taking full advantage of them. Prior to this class discussion, I had never really thought much about this dilemma. I was aware of the abuse of prescription drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin, especially on college campuses, but never really considered the idea of other cognitive-enhancing drugs. My perspective is still somewhat fuzzy on the issue. I believe that these drugs could be very important in helping people with degenerative brain diseases or types of disabilities, but may not necessarily be safe to the general public. However, they would without a doubt reach the streets in a very short period of time. If it wasn’t so likely that they would be abused, like many other prescription drugs, I think they could be very beneficial. I feel the same way about athletic-performance enhancing drugs. To a certain extent, they can be beneficial; however, athletes abuse them. Many athletes see it as an easy way out, just like people would if given cognitive enhancing drugs. I would also have to agree that there is a moral difference between giving these drugs to patient’s versus the general public. I feel the same way about drugs intended for people with ADD or ADHD. This is not however because I feel that college students who do not have ADD take Adderall to help them stay up late and cram for an exam are cheating. It is more based on the fact that I was raised with certain morals and taught that I should stay away from drugs like this because they can be very dangerous if you are not prescribed them. Drugs that are meant to help someone with certain chemical imbalances have the potential to be very harmful to someone who does not have those same imbalances. If cognitive-enhancing drugs become more accessible to the public, they likely also have the potential to be dangerous if the person taking them is not careful. Even if drugs are developed that are guaranteed to greatly improve memory and cognitive skill, I highly doubt that I would take them. I honestly would be too nervous that I would take the wrong amount and cause irreversible damage. To me, it is not worth it just to do better in school. I also