University students across the UK are taking an illegal memory-boosting drug to help them get through their exams, according to a report.
Thousands of undergraduates are using Noopept, a drug that is claimed to boost memory recall and the ability to take in more information.
Non-prescription sale of the drug was banned in the UK last month as part of a government-led crackdown on legal highs – but a number of community groups on social media suggest that more students are buying the drug online than ever before.
One former dealer said more young people were buying “smart drugs” such as Noopept than ever before. Mike, a 22-year-old sociology student from Leamington Spa, admitted taking the drug before his exams.”I first tried Ritalin when I was 18 then at university I’ve recently moved on to Noopept. It’s definitely helped my exams.”
“I’ve had some really good exams results on these types of the drug but it’s hard to know whether it’s me or the chemicals getting the results which can be a downer.Universities are aware of it. Quite a few have considered drug testing before exams.” Noopept is commonly used the drug in the US and Russia. It is prescribed to combat medical conditions such as ADHD and Alzheimer’s. Ten grams of that drug costs only £20, making it cheaper than similar drugs modafinil and Ritalin.
Noopept causes side effects like irritability and depression. Users can build up a tolerance to the drug and are more likely to take larger doses.
Forensic pharmacologist Dr Edward Bliss said, “The main problem with these drugs is tolerance. This will lead to users requiring an ever increasing dosage with the biggest threat coming from depression – especially for this student age group who are particularly susceptible to depression.”
“Also you can’t validate what you’re taking chemically from buying online and couple that with some people will simply have bad reactions – it’s unpredictable. The recent bill banning the sale of these substances will do nothing at all to the trade and it’s doubtful it will even affect the price.”
“Universities are aware of it. Quite a few have considered drug testing before exams.”