Objective. The use of prescription stimulants for cognitive enhancement by healthy university students, identified as the largest cohort of cognitive enhancer (CE) users, is of growing interest. The purpose of this study was to look at the understanding, perception, experience, and level of access of CEs among healthy university students in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Methods. The study was conducted in six highly competitive university programmes. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 18 university students to discuss their own experiences and those of their friends and peers regarding the use of prescription stimulants. In addition, semi-structured interviews were conducted with seven teaching faculty staff members (registered pharmacists and medical doctors) to explore their views on the use of CEs in their university. Results. Data were analysed thematically for the identification of themes and subthemes within the data using coding. It was found that, ‘Adderall’ was the most common prescribed CE drug and caffeine supper strength pills were the most common non-prescribed CE drug, both reported to enhance concentration, motivation, and meet academic deadlines. Conclusions. The findings of this study are of importance to a wide range of services in UAE universities, enabling them to raise awareness about the use of CEs among students.
|Journal||Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental|
|Publication status||Accepted/In press - 10 Nov 2023|
- Cognitive enhancers
- smart drugs
- university students
- drug misuse