Sunday, June 24, 2012
Here's what looks to be a student note posted on bepress discussing the use of Adderall in law school and the professional ethics questions it raises. The author, Jennifer Schiffner, is a graduate of Santa Clara University School of Law.
The widespread illicit use of Adderall as a performance enhancer raises significant challenges for law schools and for law students entering the legal profession. Adderall, a stimulant-based performance enhancer prescribed for those with juvenile and adult attention deficit (ADD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), increases a person’s ability to concentrate by stimulating the production of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. Taken without a prescription for ADD or ADHD, Adderall over-stimulates the brain allowing for super-enhanced focus with a simple pill. For law students, the allure of this Controlled Substances Act Schedule II drug is simple: efficiency. However, despite easing the time crunch many law students feel, the allure of Adderall lends itself to illegal buying and selling of the drug and risks the potential long-term physical and psychic effects of unregulated use.
Should law schools and state agencies charged with licensing lawyers take action? This paper explores the ethical dilemmas concerning the regulation of Adderall. First, this paper explores substance abuse and its current regulation in the legal profession, comparing Adderall as a controlled substance to other regulated drugs. Next, this paper surveys the evolution and medical identification of attention-deficit and hyperactivity diagnosis in adults over the course of the twentieth century and, the advent of Adderall as prescription treatment. In the following section, the paper will focus on the physical and ethical risks imposed by Adderall, targeting law students as off-label users. Ultimately, law students’ voluntary and illicit cognitive neuroenhancement undermine the ethics and social norms codified by law schools and the legal profession, thus requiring regulation. The final section posits regulatory options for bar applicants and law schools to deal with the social, political, and ethical issues surrounding cosmetic neurological enhancement through Adderall.