Public Lecture: Do stimulant drugs make us smarter? Event as iCalendar

(Public lectures)

10 March 2015

6 - 7pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 505–007, Building 505, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

Location: 85 Park Road, Grafton, Auckland

Host: The Centre for Addiction Research and The Centre for Brain Research

Contact info: Janie Sheridan

Contact email:

Wayne Hall Cropped)

There has been growing interest and enthusiasm among neuroscientists, ethicists and the media about the prospect of using stimulant drugs to enhance human cognitive capacities in normal persons.

Ethicists have expressed concerns about the safety and efficacy of these drugs; the possibility of individuals being coerced to undergo enhancement; difficulties in ensuring equitable access to cognitive enhancers; and the implications of using enhancement technologies for human personhood.

In this paper I take a sceptical look at this debate. I argue that the extent of enhancement use of stimulants drugs has been grossly exaggerated; that enhancement use of stimulants drugs is not novel; that it is doubtful that stimulants do enhance cognitive function in normal individuals; and that proposals to allow the use of stimulants as cognitive enhancers conflict with international drug control treaties to which most developed societies are signatories.

Professor Wayne Hall is the Director of the Centre for Youth Substance Abuse Research at the University of Queensland. He has advised the World Health Organization on the health effects of cannabis use; the effectiveness of drug substitution treatment; the scientific quality of the Swiss heroin trials; the contribution of illicit drug use to the global burden of disease; and the ethical implications of genetic and neuroscience research on addiction.


For more information please contact :Janie Sheridan |