Segments in this Video

Introduction: Intelligence Squared U.S. (01:22)


Moderator John Donvan frames the debate about smart drugs and college students.

Debate "Housekeeping" (04:46)

Donvan introduces the panelists for and against the motion, and explains the debate format. Audience members record their preliminary votes.

Opening Statement For: Nita Farahany (06:42)

Colleges should inform and empower their students to make their own decisions. Farahany cites surveys which demonstrate that students already take smart drugs for non-medical use. Is it a tool to enhance intelligence and focus?

Opening Statement Against: Eric Racine (05:48)

Racine contends that allowing students to take smart drugs is premature; not enough research has been conducted. He cautions whether society wants its students to achieve fulfillment through a drug.

Opening Statement For: Dr. Anjan Chatterjee (06:45)

Students should have the right to choose what is put into their bodies. Chatterjee agrees that current research is inadequate, but explains how smart drugs work on the nervous system. An audience survey reveals how prevalent drug use is among recent students.

Opening Statement Against: Nicole Vincent (06:45)

If smart drugs are made available, competition will escalate. Students will need to study harder to achieve the grades they desire and employees will need to work longer and harder to stay competitive in the marketplace.

Inadequate Data (08:05)

Donvan summarizes the opening statements. Chatterjee states that the worry of side effects is predicative for taking drugs. Racine points out the lack of evidence of smart drug efficacy.

Arm's Race of Medication (02:27)

Chatterjee argues that people create competition, not drugs. Donvan feels Vincent's comparison of smart drugs and cheating is valid. Farahany replies that smart drugs should be looked at as an opportunity to improve attention.

Anti-Competition and Anti-Progress? (02:37)

Racine rebuts that time is needed to study the effects of smart drugs long-term. He describes why the data is muddled.

Steroids Are Illegal in Sports (05:20)

Farahany comments that sports are a game and contends that college is the perfect place for students to experiment with these drugs. Vincent believes the social side effects would be destructive. Farahany stipulates that these drugs should be an option for those who make studying a priority.

QA: Social Economic Implications (06:17)

Vincent explains that allowing smart drugs leads to a dangerous precedent of workers being forced to take them or risk losing their jobs. Chatterjee states that the drugs are not expensive, and inequity is difficult to predict over time. Racine is worried about the general well-being of employees. Farahany points out making these drugs easier to purchase will keep costs down.

QA: What Is the Difference between Athletes and Students? (05:52)

Farahany would not outlaw steroids, but contends smart drugs are safer to ingest. Chatterjee explains that the analogy breaks down, because there are certain enhancements like beta blockers and surgery that are acceptable in sports.

QA: Inequality and Smart Drugs (02:09)

Chatterjee argues smart drugs are no different than SAT prep courses, which some students cannot afford. Colleges could subsidize the medication.

QA: How is Coffee Different than a Smart Drug? (04:11)

Vincent explains Ritalin that stimulates the brain more than coffee. She is concerned with others being coerced to take smart drugs, or risk being unable to compete. Farahany states the distinction is too arbitrary.

QA: Legalizing Smart Drugs (03:02)

Racine says the crux of the issue is who will regulate smart drugs. Chatterjee explains that legalizing the drug prevents an underground market.

Closing Argument For: Anjan Chatterjee (01:53)

Chaterjee reflects on his college experience. College students should be allowed to make choices to discover who they are.

Closing Argument Against: Eric Racine (01:28)

Enhancement could be a laudable goal. We need to invest in education to improve our school systems.

Closing Argument For: Nita Farahany (02:17)

Farahany takes smart drugs to help her concentrate, they do not motivate her. College is the ideal place for students to be informed of the rewards and risks of taking these drugs.

Closing Argument Against: Nicole Vincent (02:21)

After becoming a professor, Vincent was awarded two grants and took smart drugs to help focus. While her career was rewarding, her personal life suffered; she feels like an "undersaturated sponge."

Time to Vote (04:07)

The audience records their votes and Donvan introduces Greg Lukianoff and Nick Rosencranz. Lukianoff explains the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Rosecranz explains the partnership between IQ2 and FIRE.

Audience Vote Results (01:06)

Pre-debate- For: 27% Against: 44% Undecided: 29% Post-debate- For: 59% Against: 33% Undecided: 8%

Credits: College Students Should Be Allowed to Take Smart Drugs: A Debate (00:55)

Credits: College Students Should Be Allowed to Take Smart Drugs: A Debate

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College Students Should Be Allowed to Take Smart Drugs: A Debate

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If you could take a pill that would help you study and get better grades, would you? By helping to stay focused and alert for longer periods of time, college students are increasingly using off-label medication known as “smart drugs”—pharmaceuticals designed to treat conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and Alzheimer’s. Is taking smart drugs appropriate, or is it a form of cheating? Should college students be allowed to take smart drugs?

Length: 87 minutes

Item#: BVL116090

ISBN: 978-1-63521-012-5

Copyright date: ©2015

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