£200k ‘smart’ drugs seizure shows rising UK sales
Smart drugs are sold to students to enhance their memory and thinking abilities, to stay awake and to improve their concentration, especially during exams.
The seizure, worth £200,000, shows the rising internet trade in cognitive-enhancement drugs.
The majority of the seized drugs are medicines that can only be obtained with a doctor’s prescription. Ritalin and Modafinil for example are prescription-only drugs, and it is illegal to sell or distribute them.
Sunifiram is entirely experimental and has not been tested on humans in clinical trials, the Guardian reports. Smart drugs are often available online on sites hosted outside the UK.
Members of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Authority (MHRA) are concerned about this new trend.
Alastair Jeffrey, MHRA head of enforcement, told the Guardian, “The fact of the matter is that if you are acquiring medicines over the internet without a prescription then you are purchasing from an unknown, unregulated and ultimately an unlawful source that has one objective – to take your money.”
“The idea that people are willing to put their overall health at risk in order to attempt to get an intellectual edge over others is deeply troubling,” he said.
Last year, the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said he is very concerned about the rise of young students taking drugs to stay awake and enhance their performance during exams.
“This is drug abuse,” he said. “To all those young people, we completely understand the pressures of taking exams, but you are playing with fire if you take drugs that haven't been prescribed.”