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Should scientists use performance-enhancing drugs?


In 2008, Stanford law professor Hank Greely, JD, co-authored a Nature commentary (subscription required) discussing the benefits of so-called "smart drugs," like Adderall and Ritalin. Noting Greely's support of the performance enhancers, The Atlantic's Chris Good today suggests that scientists and researchers use the drugs to boost productivity and innovation. He writes:

The arguments against performance-enhancers are the same in both athletics and academics--users gain an unfair competitive edge, and they harm themselves in the process...

But for scientists and researchers, particularly those working on medical advancements, things are different. They're working for the public good. Fairness matters less. If one biochemist or physicist "cheats" to gain an edge over a rival research lab, university department, or grant competitor, it may be unethical, but we should be willing to forgive if it means one less day on earth with incurable cancer or massive emissions of carbon gas. As for health concerns, well, we are talking about adults, and we should be willing to let scientists and researchers make that sacrifice.

What do you think, readers? Should performance-enhancing drugs be used for the greater good?

Previously: Paying attention to Adderall use on college campuses
Photo by Arenamontanus

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