September 4, 2014
To Abuse, Or Not To Abuse
Although abuse of prescription drugs is illegal, universities across the nation are having a hard time controlling the issue on their campuses. In the article “Change Honor Codes to Include Abuse of Nonprescription Drugs,” David Alpert is firm in his belief that all universities should follow in the footsteps of Duke University and add a pledge against the abuse of prescription drugs to schools’ honor codes. On the other hand, in an essay titled “A Ban On Brain-Boosting Drugs Is Not The Answer,” Matt Lamkin argues it is not the study drugs that are the problem; it is the emphasis schools put on competition and credentials, which drives the students to seek out shortcuts. The main conflicting ideology between these two authors is who to put the blame on when it comes to nonprescription drug abuse on campuses. While Alpert puts the blame on the abusers themselves and sees the problem as a crime that is causing a problem for students who are not using “study drugs,” Lamkin puts the majority of the blame on the school system that puts a tremendous amount of pressure on students to have the best GPA, basing its entire system around competition. While it is hard to make a clean cut between these two authors’ differing ideas, I agree with Lamkin for the most part. Alpert is correct: this is in fact a problem that needs to be addressed, and adding a pledge against the abuse of prescription drugs to schools’ honor codes would be the easiest course of action and would put the least amount of stress on the schools and students. However, I do not see that course of action fixing anything. If people are already willing to break the law and abuse the drugs, adding it to some ethics code is not going to change a thing. Thus I agree more with Lamkin. If we want to fix this problem, it’s going to be a slow process which begins with reworking the standards to which we hold students, putting more emphasis on what you have done in school and how good your resume is, as opposed to what your GPA is. Alpert argues all universities need to follow in the footsteps of Duke University when adding the abuse of prescription drugs to their honor codes, and specifically, “study drugs,” which are typically medications used in the treatment of ADHD and ADD. He shows a study performed by the “University of Kentucky that shows 34% of undergraduate students have used study drugs illegally and that number is doubled with upperclassmen.” (638-639) He goes on to talk about how abusers of these drugs find this to be a victimless crime, while in actuality it is not. It is their peers that suffer from abusers’ inflated grades, which unfairly skew the grading curve and GPAs. This puts students who refrain from taking the drugs at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to earning grades. In closing he believes the best way to put an end to this raising epidemic would be to add the abuse of nonprescription drugs to the honor code. He feels this is the most balanced plan, putting little financial strain on universities and avoiding crossing any personal boundaries with random drug testing. On the other hand, Lamkin argues “if it’s our goal to promote students engagement in education, we should realign student incentives with the appreciation of educations internal benefits, so students are not rewarded for taking shortcuts. In drug policy terms this is a “Demand Reduction” strategy that works by draining study drugs of their value.” (640-642). It is not the drugs that are the issue, but the education system that puts too much emphasis on higher grades and perfect academics. He says colleges need to encourage students to engage in the practice of education rather than to seek shortcuts to higher grades. If there were not so much emphasis on competition and credentials in universities, students would not seek out “study drugs’ to improve their grades. Our society is focused...
Cited: Alpert, David. "Change Honor Codes To Include Abuse Of Nonprescription Drugs." USA Today College (January 20, 2012):.638-40 print. 04 Sept. 2014. "Chapter 18: Debate: Should "Study Drugs" Be Banned?" 2011. Practical Argument. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2011. 637-43. Print.
Lamkin, Matt. "A Ban On Brain-Boosting Drugs Is Not The Answer." (February 27, 2011): 640-42. Print. 4 Sept. 2014. "Chapter 18: Debate: Should "Study Drugs" Be Banned?" 2011. Practical Argument. Ed. Laurie G. Kirszner and Stephen R. Mandell. 2nd ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2011. 637-43. Print.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document