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Would you use a "smart" drug?

Recently there has been discussion in several threads hereon about the availability and use of nootropics — so-called “smart” drugs — by bridge players. To clarify, what I’m referring to here as smart drugs are those that are intended to increase concentration, memory, or other aspects of mental acuity. I am specifically excluding caffeine, which otherwise would qualify; this poll is about drugs that are not already in widespread, largely unregulated use.

Specific examples of the drugs at issue are modafinil (sold as Provigil) and a class of drugs known as the racetams. I will also include, for purposes of the poll, drugs that are prescribed for ADHD including Adderall (levoamphetamine and dextroamphetamine) and methylphenidate (Ritalin).

There is a growing body of evidence that nootropic drugs can enhance performance at tasks that are similar to bridge, but this has not yet been conclusively proved and as far as I know performance at bridge itself has not been tested. Still, some bridge players report increased performance while taking such drugs. The drugs seem to be at quite safe as drugs go, though this has not been conclusively demonstrated and of course taking any drug entails some risk.

WADA prohibits the use of many nootropics in contests that fall under its control, thus WBF events, but as far as I know there is currently no such limitation in other events.

Consider a hypothetical nootropic drug. For purposes of this poll, assume the following:

  • You are competing in a bridge event that does not prohibit use of the drug in question;
  • You can obtain the drug legally;
  • You do not need to take the drug for any medical reason; and
  • You have reason to believe the drug would enhance your bridge performance, and no reason to believe it would be unsafe for you to take.

Would you try the drug?

I would try it, and would use it if it worked for me
I would consider using it
I would not use it

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