Smart Drugs are drugs or supplements that are used to improve a person’s mental capacity and function. Also referred to as nootropics, they are said to improve memory, mental cognition, increase focus and improve concentration. However, there is no scientific consensus as to the effectiveness or side effects of smart drugs because of lack of long term data.
Currently in the UK, there is a battle brewing between British transhumanists and the law makers. It has been legal to sell, possess and use many of these smart drugs. The transhumanists in the UK are up in arms because a new UK drug law will automatically affect most nootropics when put into effect in April. This is not surprising since most users of smart drugs are transhumanists and college students. The Psychoactive Substance Act passed in January this year seeks to curb the use of unregulated legal substances that supposedly affect people’s mental states.
In an online petition, they have appealed to the government to exempt nootropics from the ban. To many this comes down as mainly a classification conundrum. There are many smart drugs out there like Modafinil that is considered safe by Food and Drug Administration all over the world. It can therefore be argued that enhancing your cognitive abilities and recreational use of psychoactive substances are two different things.
In a separate statement by the Transhumanist Party UK, they argued that by enforcing this prohibition the government will cause a significant reduction in the life quality of persons employing smart drugs. They also voiced their concerns that such a ban will be detrimental to the productivity and creativity of the country as a whole. Adding to that, a much similar a ban was attempted in the United States with vitamins with unforeseen detrimental effects.
Studies on smart drugs currently are not of much help. Some show that in healthy users the drug proves beneficial to mental faculties. While others reveal that they can eventually cause lack of motivation in constant users. However, such drugs are not available on prescription since they are not a treatment for any medical condition. The new law aims to tackle this issue because most users get their doses from overseas markets. This is not openly prohibited or regulated therefore many users may end up with doctored substances in the name of smart drugs.
Transhumanists also say that the ban will not reduce its usage in the UK. There has been a significant increase in sales from sites that deal with smart drugs. This trend shows that smart drug users are obviously stockpiling before the law takes effect. With this observation, they have pointed out that the ban will lead to people purchasing the drugs from darknet markets.
Darknet markets or cryptomarkets are commercial websites on the dark web that deal in licit and illicit products and services. It is only logical that since smart drug usage is not going to reduce, the immediate avenue of choice will be darknet markets.
Time and again it has proven nearly impossible to regulate the internet. As with most products purchased through darknet sites, the user can never know whether what they are consuming is genuine or even the actual ordered product. As such, the lobbyists against the law claim that more harmful substances may be available in the market as replacements and substitutes for smart drugs in the UK.
Since consumers always find new ways of getting their doses, the fretting from the British transhumanists should not be taken lightly. The laws while a step in the right direction, are too vague and will encounter difficulties in enforcement. Furthermore, shady people will always use legal loopholes to get the smart drugs to their customers.
This will eventually lead to users being at a disadvantage because now they will be dosing on potentially dangerous substances while at the same time being liable to legal prosecution. Work is now cut out to the transhumanists to prove that using smart drugs for mental enhancement is a beneficial viable activity. This is no short term endeavor and in the meantime the law looks set to being in effect come April.