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Is meth a 'smart drug'?
The work came to my attention via a comment on the Mind Hacks blog by Daniel Lende, a Notre Dame professor, responding to a post about Wired.com readers' drug regimens. He wrote:
Even with a drug like methamphetamine, most heavy users in our research engaged in "functional use." They [are] used to enhance cognitive function (or compensate for deficits), to increase overall productivity, and even to appear "normal" while being high (say, unlike alcohol).
After we made contact, the professor sent me a paper on the research, which appeared last year in Addiction Research and Theory. Lende and his colleagues interviewed 40 heavy meth users in Atlanta about how they used the drug that has widely been called the "new crack."
Instead of stories about the fun of crystal meth, the users spoke about the productivity gains they received from the drug. Their comments were eerily similar to what our readers said about using Adderall, Provigil, and Ritalin.
One seamstress claimed that productivity gains were the only reason she used the drug:
I went home and made a dress... and I was like, my God, I got the details down so well on this and everything, this is really an opportunitive drug here... I work drugged, which I know sounds stupid, but that's, it's not a social situation for me... I could totally just focus on the project at hand. And that was the biggest first and still is the only enticement of the drug.
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