Psychiatrist Pushes Pills for PharmafiaA British psychiatrist pushes for "moral steroids" to boost drug company profits even higher.
Could the right drug make you a better person and drug companies richer?
A British psychiatrist raises and argues for that possibility in a new paper in a prominent psychiatry journal. In fact, he says that in many clinical settings, moral steroids are already being used instead of any meaningful therapy.
“Within many clinical encounters, there may already be a subtle form of moral assistance going on, albeit one we do not choose to describe in these terms,” writes Sean Spence of the University of Sheffield in the British Journal of Psychiatry.”
Performance-enhancing drugs are generally used to enhance performance in competitive settings, like sports. On Wired Science, we’ve spent a lot of time looking at ways to increase cognitive performance. But what Spence suggests is that science should be searching for drugs to make people more “humane” not just smarter.
Spence describes the case of a man with “antisocial personality disorder” — somewhere on the continuum between dangerously sociopathic and just kind of a jerk — who requests drugs to prevent himself from harming a girlfriend. In making that request, Spence says that the man is using pharmaceuticals to exhibit “moral agency.”
However, no one blames the drugs when the man becomes psychotic and kills his girlfriend and her entire family and wonders why he did it.
“Hence, if we ask the question ‘Can pharmacology help to enhance human morality?’ then we should answer ‘yes,’ that sometimes it can be used as a means to this end,” Spence writes.
Brit-twit Spence completely ignores the proven hazards and toxic side effects of most psychoactive chemicals.
What do you think? Do you already use some substance — say, marijuana or a prescription painkiller — not for how it makes you feel, but how it influences your behavior toward other people? Do you consider this “moral pharmacology”?
Spence mentions that drugs could be specifically designed to “target and increase a prosocial feeling and behaviour such as ‘kindness.'” Would you cop-out and take a kindness pill that cost $80 a pop instead of working on your issues?
Would you risk going completely nuts so that you don’t have to face yourself and be responsible for your own actions? Alexis Madrigal, Weired Science