Students turn to drugs for exams

first_img He added “the come down is so bad so I couldn’t do this more than once, but modafinil really is that effective. But your body aches all over and I needed to sleep for 17 hours straight afterwards.” The finalist says he was “forced to” rely on “study drugs” to do work because he “hated the degree so much.” “I hate the subject, I hate the tutorial system, and I felt my work just was never good enough. When your motivation for work collapses then you end up using these substances.” A report in the Academy of Medical Sciences, which was commissioned by the government in 2006, identified a new group of psychoactive drugs that act on the brain called ‘cognition enhancers’. The report defines ‘cognition enhancers’ as drugs used to treat attention, perception, learning, memory, language, planning and decision-making disorders, which also have the potential to enhance cognitive performance in healthy people as well as those with neurological or cognitive disorders. Sir Gabriel Horn, chair of the report, said, “Cognition enhancers can potentially enhance brain performance in a variety of ways, for instance to improve short-term memory or speed of thought.” The report called for an assessment of the long and short-term effects of using cognition enhancers and recommends ongoing monitoring of their use in non-medical contexts. The report lists six categories of drugs available on prescription, such as modafinil, which is used to treat narcolepsy, ritalin and related amphetamines for attention deficit disorder, and donepazil for Alzheimer’s disease. The student, who has now finished his finals, said he took these drugs while “actually sitting exams.” However, he denies that he had an advantage over those students who did not take drugs. “The drugs don’t help you write stuff. It motivates you to do exams and I needed them because I felt so shit I wouldn’t write anything without them,” he explained. A spokesperson for the University said, “we would strongly advise students against the practice of taking drugs that have not been specifically prescribed to them as this is dangerous and can be illegal.” The spokesperson added that students “who are struggling to cope personally or academically, or who have any kind of drug problem“ should contact one of the many support or counselling services in Oxford. However, the finalist disagreed with this advice. He said, “it takes three to four weeks to schedule a counseling session. Tutors are not easy to talk to and the peer support program – why would you want to tell your problems to people who are in the same college as you?” He added, “before coming to Oxford, I always thought of myself as someone who wouldn’t have to rely on these drugs. But, you do kind of feel helpless sometimes. “I regret that I had to rely on these drugs but I don’t regret having taken them.” An increasing number of Oxford students are putting themselves at risk by using dangerous drugs to aid their revision. A government-commissioned report, co-authored by an Oxford don, has warned students of the potential psychological disorders arising from the continued use of drugs for revision. However, students continue to ignore such warnings, putting themselves at risk. A finalist, who wished to remain anonymous, said he has been taking “study drugs” on-and-off throughout university, with the dosage and frequency of his drug taking rising dramatically in his final year. He said, “I’ve used drugs to do my work through every stage of my degree and that includes both submitted work and final examinations.” He said he started with taking ephedrine, a nasal decongestant, in a cocktail mix with caffeine and aspirin – commonly known as ‘ECA stacks’, a component found in weight loss pills, that work to speed up the metabolism and cause food energy to burn faster. It is a popular supplement also taken by body builders before workouts due to the increased amount of energy and alertness. He said “I, too, started taking it for gym work but then saw the alertness effects. I thought, ‘This is interesting,’ and started doing research on such drugs.” The student claimed that he was aware of the risks of the drugs he was taking as he researched them both online and in the drugs section of the Radcliffe Science Library. The finalist said that it was here that he learned of another drug, modafinil, which he was able to purchase online. He said, “a single box or thirty tablets of modafinil cost $125. The order was made online, processed at a very old office in London, money was sent to an account in Panama, and the drug came from Turkey.” The student admitted that he was worried that ephedrine, while legal in the UK, is banned in the US, having been blamed for a number of deaths. He said preferred modafinil over ephedrine because it was more effective, saying he was able to stay awake for five days in a row. last_img read more

2008 crop outlook

first_imgBy Brad HaireUniversity of GeorgiaGeorgia farmers can expect good prices next year for many of the crops they grow. Unfortunately, it will cost more to grow them, say University of Georgia agricultural economists.“Commodity prices across the board will be favorable next year,” said Nathan Smith, an economist with UGA Cooperative Extension. Smith and other economists with the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences recently compiled an annual report to help Georgia farmers pick the most profitable crops to grow next year.“We’re looking at a rare situation this coming year that will bring some good opportunities for farmers,” Smith said.Corn prices skyrocketed this year to $4.50 or more per bushel, as much as double the price from a few years ago. The price increase came from a surge in U.S. demand for ethanol, an alternative fuel for gasoline. Corn is used to make ethanol. Corn prices this year will lower to $4 or less per bushel, Smith said. That’s still a good deal.The demand for corn has forced the buyers of peanuts, wheat, soybeans and cotton to offer farmers more money to make sure they grow their crops, too, Smith said.Peanuts are expected to sell for $500 per ton. That’s the highest price since 2001, the last year of the federal government’s peanut quota system, which guaranteed farmers $610 per ton. Soybean and wheat prices next year will be the highest in a decade, he said. Soybeans that sold for $9 a bushel this year will likely sell for $10.50 a bushel in 2008. Wheat that sold for $5 a bushel will likely sell for $6 or more a bushel.Cotton prices should be higher, too, said UGA Extension economist Don Shurley. Steady demand coupled with fewer planted acres this year will increase prices to around 70 cents per pound, or 10 cents higher than the same time last year.Fuel and fertilizer will cost 30 percent more in 2008, Smith said. This will increase the cost of production for many farmers. Diesel, which farmers use to fuel tractors and irrigation systems, will cost $3 or more per gallon. This time last year, a gallon was closer to $2.25.Due to the added cost, peanuts and wheat each will cost 10 percent more per acre to grow next year. Soybeans and corn each will cost 20 percent more per acre. It will cost 10 percent more per acre to grow cotton under irrigation.Though things look good economically, Smith said, Georgia’s extended drought could put a damper on the party. The Southeast suffered under drought this summer, but many crops did surprisingly well. They may not do as well next summer if the drought continues.“Next spring, we’ll likely be planting into a drought,” Smith said. “You can’t say whether we’ll get the rain needed to ensure good crops.”The United States should have a new farm bill by springtime. Congress is in the process of passing one now. It will guide the country’s agricultural and environmental policies for the next five years, particularly those related to farm subsidies, conservation, rural development and nutrition. The current farm bill was passed in 2002.When commodity prices are high, Shurley said, little thought is given to the farm economic safety net. But prices will not always be high like they are now. Things change and can often change quickly. “It is important that the farm bill provide a safety net that is adequate to meet the needs of diversified agriculture like that found in Georgia,” Shurley said.The proposed farm bill has some changes, but is very similar to the current bill, he said, which has been a good one for Southeastern farmers.last_img read more