Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy Call for Papers: Special Issue

Pharmaceutical Cognitive Enhancement

Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy

We invite you to submit your paper to this special issue of Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy (DEPP).

There has been much ethical debate over recent years around the emerging practice of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement whereby so-called smart drugs are being, or could potentially be, used beyond their licensed indications as ways of boosting alertness, concentration and brain power.

Non-medical use of prescription pharmaceuticals for ‘enhancement’ purposes has been documented across different social groups, especially among college students in many Western countries. Increasingly, such use has been theorized as being linked to ‘The Performance Society’ as well as to recent changes in educational systems and in work settings.

A critical multi-disciplinary approach to the analysis of pharmaceutical enhancement practices is timely as we attempt to understand motivations for and experiences of use individually and collectively across cultures and contexts and consider the wider implications this may have for drugs policy and practice.

Details of the special issue

The purpose of this special issue is to bring together research from multiple disciplinary perspectives reflecting different cultural, historical and theoretical approaches to the understanding of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement.

This will provide a platform for communication and debate that is necessary for us to advance our knowledge, theoretical understandings and responses to the non-medical use of prescription pharmaceuticals for enhancement purposes. 

We encourage submissions that address issues of cognitive enhancement in work, educational systems and wider society. Though the list is not exhaustive, we would particularly welcome papers which address the following topics:

  • The motivations, experiences and reflections of non-medical users of prescription pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement purposes;
  • The experiences, perceptions and reflections of parents, teachers, doctors, and others in relation to young people’s use of prescription pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement purposes across different educational settings;
  • Work, employment and performance;
  • Cognitive enhancement and ageing;
  • Policy, harm reduction and prevention;
  • Regulatory and legal aspects;
  • Methodological papers, particularly those addressing issues of interdisciplinarity;
  • Theoretical contributions to developing interdisciplinary and conceptual understandings of enhancement, optimization and lifestyle medicine;
  • Intersectional analyses of non-medical use of prescription pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement purposes (class, gender, ethnicity, age);
  • Ethical analyses of using prescription drugs to improve cognitive performance;
  • Poly drug use, ethnopharmacology and the boundaries of medical/non-medial drug use;
  • Representations of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement in media and popular culture.

Types of papers accepted

We invite the submission of multi-disciplinary research papers based on original research examining social, psychological, cultural and ethical aspects of pharmaceutical cognitive enhancement, reviews and commentaries on professional practice, legal, policy, prevention and harm reduction issues.

Qualitative, quantitative, mixed-methods, and historical research are also welcome.

We encourage papers to discuss the implications of their findings for the development of policy and practice.

Submission instructions

Abstracts of 350 words should be emailed to Jeanett Bjønness (jb.crf@psy.au.dk) and Catherine Coveney (catherine.coveney@dmu.ac.uk) by 15th November, 2017.

The email subject heading should read “DEPP Special Issue: Cognitive enhancement”. The editors will inform authors by 30th November, 2017 whether to proceed to full submission.

If selected, complete manuscripts will be due on 2nd April, 2018. All manuscripts are subject to the normal DEPP peer review process and authors are advised to read the Instructions for Authors before submitting their papers for consideration. The special issue will be published in the beginning of 2019. All accepted papers will be made available online soon after acceptance. 

Editorial information

  • Guest Editor: Jeanett Bjønness, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Guest Editor: Catherine Coveney, De Montfort University, UK