People Popping Pills

Tab Writer Kiran Morjaria carries out an investigation into the morality of study drugs


When I watch a film, I’m usually more impressed by the concept than the weak storyline or dubious acting. A film that epitomises the former statement is Limitless starring Bradley Cooper, better known as Phil from The Hangover.

In the film, Phil takes a tablet which gives him super human abilities; he becomes able to use ‘more’ of his mind, making him more confident, focused and harder working. This led me to wonder whether there is a pill that I can take to make myself better? Harder working? To be able to keep going indefinitely without running out of steam? Actually, yes, there is.

The Tab was given access to an exclusive interview with an ex-substance user who gave us an insight into his world. For the sake of confidentiality, and because I’m unimaginative, let’s call him Phil. Phil was taking a drug called Modafinil. My knowledgeable friend, Wikipedia, told me that Modafinil is a eugeroic drug; in English that means it’s a stimulant that prevents sleep and increases concentration. This drug was initially developed for insomniacs, and modified to keep soldiers awake during the war. It is now often used by students in similar battles against long essays about 18th century literature.

Phil eloquently revealed that during his period of drug use he was able to ‘stay up all night’ and get through a ‘shit load’ of work without interference.


Although he added as an afterthought, ‘you have to want to work to do them though they’re not like magic pills’.

The BBC published an article last year entitled ‘Do cognitive enhancing drugs work?’ This article stated that people like Phil take these drugs to ‘push limitations’. Wrong. People, especially students, take these drugs because they’re fucking lazy.

If you know that you can get a 2,000 word report submitted in four hours through the natural process, or in two hours by taking a pill which removes distractions, obviously one would choose the latter. Thus, two hours are saved; in which one can do what students do best – a combination of eating, sleeping, masturbating and drinking.

The general perception in society is that you shouldn’t use drugs for anything but medical purposes. I’ve learnt from my many childhood hours of watching the education box that recreational drugs are bad, and that I should call some guy called ‘FRANK’ if I have any questions. Luckily, Phil didn’t experience any side effects from using cognitive enhancing drugs, however he is in the minority. Rashes, hives, sores, blistering and peeling skin are all side effects seen by Modafinil users.

So what’s the truth behind these drugs? To be honest, I’m not actually sure. That’s not just me being ignorant, that’s the simple fact that large-scale clinical trials haven’t occurred. There’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned hard work apart from the fact that it’s utterly boring and shit; but it’s a part of life. In my opinion, exams and essays should be about who puts the most effort in. If desperate, it is probably better to stick to tried and tested method of coffee and/or energy drinks for handling those far-too-common all-nighters.

As they say in the real hustle, ‘If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.’ Regarding drugs, this seems to be the case.