Cognitive enhancing drug use by students in the context of neoliberalism: cheating? Or, a legitimate expression of competitive entrepreneurialism? / John Mann
- International Journal of Drug Policy 95 (2021) 102907
- DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2020.102907
A recurrent theme regarding drug policy and the use of cognitive enhancing drugs (CEDs) by students in higher education (HE), concerns the potential introduction of policy to prohibit the use of CEDs. One of the arguments put forward to support a prohibitive policy framework, is that the use of CEDs by students in HE is a form of academic misconduct; that the use of CEDs constitutes cheating. Now, given that it is widely documented that the use of CEDs by students in HE has been growing steadily over the past decade or more, there is surprisingly, a dearth of in-depth discussion on the topic of whether their use represents academic misconduct and is a form of cheating. Therefore, this commentary will summarise some examples of literature dedicated to the topic, before discussing whether the use of CEDs by students in HE constitutes cheating, when framed contextually, around neoliberalism and the key characteristics of competition and entrepreneurialism. The commentary will propose a potentially useful argument that, given the neoliberal context and those key characteristics, (HE) students could in theory, legitimise their use of CEDs. Consequently, students using CEDs for the purpose of hypothetically increasing academic excellence, would not consider their use of CEDs as a form of academic misconduct, of cheating. Thus, this paper, would in principle, support and endorse a legal, regulatory approach to CED policy and in addition, recommends that individual HE institutions do not prohibit the use of CEDs by students on the grounds of academic misconduct, but instead, advance harm reduction initiatives around their use.