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Disagreements with implications: Diverging discourses on the ethics of non-medical use of methylphenidate for performance enhancement

Forlini, Cynthia and Racine, Eric 2009, Disagreements with implications: Diverging discourses on the ethics of non-medical use of methylphenidate for performance enhancement, BMC Medical Ethics, vol. 10, no. 1, doi: 10.1186/1472-6939-10-9.

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Title Disagreements with implications: Diverging discourses on the ethics of non-medical use of methylphenidate for performance enhancement
Author(s) Forlini, CynthiaORCID iD for Forlini, Cynthia orcid.org/0000-0003-3809-8229
Racine, Eric
Journal name BMC Medical Ethics
Volume number 10
Issue number 1
Publisher BioMed central
Publication date 2009-08-20
ISSN 1472-6939
Keyword(s) Social Sciences
Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Ethics
Medical Ethics
Social Sciences, Biomedical
Social Sciences - Other Topics
Biomedical Social Sciences
PRESCRIPTION STIMULANTS
STUDENT SAMPLE
COGNITIVE FUNCTION
COLLEGE-STUDENTS
ENHANCING DRUGS
WORKING-MEMORY
YOUNG-ADULTS
PRINT MEDIA
HUMAN BRAIN
ILLICIT USE
Summary Background. There is substantial evidence that methylphenidate (MPH; Ritalin), is being used by healthy university students for non-medical motives such as the improvement of concentration, alertness, and academic performance. The scope and potential consequences of the non-medical use of MPH upon healthcare and society bring about many points of view. Methods. To gain insight into key ethical and social issues on the non-medical use of MPH, we examined discourses in the print media, bioethics literature, and public health literature. Results. Our study identified three diverging paradigms with varying perspectives on the nature of performance enhancement. The beneficial effects of MPH on normal cognition were generally portrayed enthusiastically in the print media and bioethics discourses but supported by scant information on associated risks. Overall, we found a variety of perspectives regarding ethical, legal and social issues related to the non-medical use of MPH for performance enhancement and its impact upon social practices and institutions. The exception to this was public health discourse which took a strong stance against the non-medical use of MPH typically viewed as a form of prescription abuse or misuse. Wide-ranging recommendations for prevention of further non-medical use of MPH included legislation and increased public education. Conclusion. Some positive portrayals of the non-medical use of MPH for performance enhancement in the print media and bioethics discourses could entice further uses. Medicine and society need to prepare for more prevalent non-medical uses of neuropharmaceuticals by fostering better informed public debates. © 2009 Forlini and Racine; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
DOI 10.1186/1472-6939-10-9
Indigenous content off
Field of Research 2201 Applied Ethics
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30125318

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: Faculty of Health
School of Medicine
Open Access Collection
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.