Study drugs: helpful tool or form of cheating?

Ritalin, a form of cheating? — Heather Stone / Chicago Tribune (MCT)

It’s a well-accepted fact that some students use a little more than coffee and hard work to get ahead on their school work. But recent changes to Wesleyan University’s Code of Non-Academic Conduct bring the (im)morality of study drugs to the fore.

This semester, Wesleyan updated its Code of Non-Academic Conduct to prevent “misuse or abuse” of prescription drugs, according to a report from Inside Higher Ed. While many schools have policies against the use of drugs not prescribed to the user, those policies are usually based on health concerns.

But it seems with this move from Wesleyan, the use of study drugs is being raised as a moral issue. The Honor Code at Wesleyan requires that academic work is completed “without improper assistance,” so the implication is that the use of non-prescribed stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin that keep students awake, alert and focused, is ethically wrong.

But the issue is still up for debate. David Leibow, an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry in Columbia University’s College of Physicians and Surgeons, quoted in Inside Higher Ed, called the ethical motivation behind the ban “dubious,” and compared their use with drinking coffee or simply having a better work ethic than other students.

So Blog readers, what do you think? Is using a pill to help you get through a paper or an exam a form of cheating? Or is it using an available resource to do well in school? Tell us in the comments! (And remember, they’re anonymous.)


  1. nah

    …so using better technologies than the rest of the students or using caffeine pills n redbull is also immoral? plz….

  2. Bas

    Ritalin is like amphetamines on the brain. They can be just as destructive too. Doing well in college should depend on how much harmful subtances you’re willing to ingest?

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