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March 10, 2010

The new drug problem

Through informal conversations with colleagues at a number of schools, I have become aware of the widespread abuse of prescription drugs by law students.  Not just any type of prescription drug, either, but psychostimulants such as Ritalin, which are normally prescribed for ADHD.  Physically, these drugs can enhance academic performance by stimulating the nervous system and increasing focus.  (If you doubt that these drugs are being used at your school, ask a few students if they know of anyone using them-- the answers may surprise you).

Two problems rise out of this abuse.  First, the students who use these drugs risk physical harm and addiction, as with any other misused drug.  Second, it skews our measurement of performance, much the same way that steroids skew athletic contests.

Should schools take pro-active measures to cut down on this type of drug abuse?  If so, what is possible short of random drug tests of our students, something few if any schools would be willing to undertake?

-- Mark Osler

March 10, 2010 | Permalink


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To bring people up to date.

1) Stimulants enhance the performance of normal people only for repetitive, boring tasks, where attention will drift. There may also be a state dependent learning effect. The material learned under the influence of stimulants will only be recalled under the influence of stimulants again. Grades are based on completed work, not on intelligence nor even on knowledge. For people with ADHD, stimulants will markedly improve grades, by getting them to finish and to hand in work. Many people with ADHD finish the work, but do not hand it in! If issue spotting is the goal, or any other non-repetitive, creative task, stimulants are a waste of time and money.

2) The effects of stimulants are dose related. Give out low doses at a motorcycle gang party, people want to clean and pay their bills. They only get high on very large troublesome doses. So paying a high price for low dose stimulants is a waste of money. Low doses of stimulants will lower the drug abuse relapse rate by decreasing impulsivity, the need for self-medication, and by improving judgment in people with ADHD. It also markedly decrease crime by the same effect.

3) If people want an intellectual advantage, they should look elsewhere. It is far more clever and effective to use modafinil and armodafinil, drugs that permit the elimination of sleep without mental effects for up to 3 days. The use of the 8 hours wasted on sleep to study and to write papers is more useful. This drug is so clean and effective, it should be put over the counter. It is superior to caffeine in every way possible.

4) The other medications that may provide enhanced intellectual function, the dementia medications.


The Supremacy believes that these medications (not the stimulants) should be available over the counter. People should be able to use them as they see fit. They confer no more fair advantage than preparation for bar exam, or commercial case briefing. These medications are far safer in use and in overdose than any OTC drug now available. The lawyer dominated FDA is an abomination that is killing our economy. The lawyers setting its policy should be forcibly removed by federal marshals, arrested, and after an hour's fair trial, executed in the basement of the court house. These are traitors. That lawyers control the availability of useful medications is unbearable.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 14, 2010 12:10:08 AM

The lawyer education has the features of a cult indoctrination. The language is quite foreign, with no benefit to the public, just a French method to force the owners of the law to hire a lawyer.

The content of the education is ridiculous, supernatural doctrine from 1275 AD. It is utter garbage, and in violation of the Establishment Clause, coming from a church.

After a while, the student understands. He has joined a criminal cult enterprise. It is hated by everyone, including lawyers. If the public is oppressed by the crime syndicate hierarchy, the lawyer is doubly so, and the judge triply so.

The student reads the signs. The profession is in utter failure in every self-stated goal of every law subject. Every year left to live, the lawyer destroys a million dollars in economic value. Nothing is left but sterile, worthless, rent seeking.

Pretty depressing. I would like to see the profession pulled out of its smelly swamp. That can only be done by force. Arrest the hierarchy, try them fairly for an hour, then execute them in the basement of the courthouse. Close half of the law schools, the top half, there being only Hate America traitors in those places. Merge the meanings of Evidence in the law and in science. End all doctrines that are not facts of nature. End all self-dealt immunities, including repeal of the shady Eleventh Amendment. Require testing of all but emergency statutes for safety and effectiveness in small jurisdictions. Void all legal utterances at a readability above that of the sixth grade. Replace contract law with an EBay system of rating of transactions. End the bunco operation of torts. Stop the relentless attack on the American family. Stop the hobbling of our warriors so they may eliminate our enemies decisively.

Right now, the lawyer is hateful. Everyone but me wants him dead, and for good reason. He is a traitor, an anchor to our economy, a protector of the vicious criminal, a plundering land pirate and hijacker.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Mar 15, 2010 10:14:54 PM

Yours is the only website from a google search that talks about the possible proliferation of drugs on law school campuses. My website is held by an internet lawyer that has refused to send me my password to change my website. The goal of my website is to provide an ethics code, with a lowered malpractice insurance rate, to affect the positive growth of new lawyers moving into private practice.

The trend in the media shows the negative direction of lawyers supporting legalization of dealt drugs. I have seen this in ACLU cases in Alaska, in addition to the proposed initiative in the State of Washington. The Ravin v. State decision is from a very small population of only one congressional representative. The State v. ACLU is the most recent decision from this very small population of only one congressional representative.

The children of the United States of America are at risk of drug use. I support no further legalization of marijuana. These are probable abuses of drugs that support the rights of the wrong. The trend of drug use needs to be changed to affect the courts in a positive direction. This begins in law school.

Pamela J. Hanson

Posted by: Pamela J. Hanson | Jan 4, 2012 11:03:33 AM

Thank you for reading my first post.

Pamela J. Hanson

Posted by: Pamela J. Hanson | Jan 5, 2012 12:43:17 AM

How about the professor openly addressing the issue on the first day of class from a place of caring about the student's well-being?

Something along the lines of "this is a dangerous path. If you go through the law school experience using performance enhancers with the idea that you will quit upon graduation/passing the bar, you are wrong. You will only become dependent on them, and continue using them in practice. It will not work long term."

It has always struck me as paradoxical that professors (who are frequently licensed attorneys themselves) do not do more to prevent drug users from entering the profession.

After all, if you as the prof actually question the student's ability to represent a client due to drug use, you have a duty to report them as soon as they join the bar under the Model Rules...yet I've never heard of one doing so.

Posted by: Recent Graduate | Feb 14, 2014 5:12:33 PM

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