“Pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement, or PCE, is the use of substances such as prescription medications, to improve focus, alertness, memory, and mood,” Ms Jensen said.
“It has been portrayed as common practice among US college students, despite large variations in prevalence and numerous limitations across studies.
“There are still large gaps in our understanding of students’ use of study drugs, including the contributing factors and positive or negative outcomes.”
Specifically, Ms Jensen aims to capture Australian university students’ attitudes towards and experiences with taking prescription drugs to try and improve study sessions.
She said the most commonly used study drugs were medications prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, such as Concerta, Ritalin or Adderall.
“Narcolepsy drug Modafinil is another substance frequently associated with cognitive enhancement,” Ms Jensen said.
“There is little known about study drug usage in Australia, although there is evidence that it does take place.
“What is better established is the evidence for potential side effects and abuse of prescription stimulants, which makes an investigation into drugs used for studying in our student population justified.
“If we, as a nation, are to consider making regulatory recommendations, we need to have a clearer picture of what is fact and what is fiction when it comes to usage.”
Ms Jensen is seeking current students between the ages of 18-29 (both study drug users and non-users) to assist in her study.
All participants will remain anonymous.
Students who complete the survey go into a draw to win prizes such as an iPad, iPad Mini or Coles Myer vouchers.
Students can complete the survey or obtain more information by clicking here.