Adderall for All: A Defense of Pediatric Neuroenhancement

HEC Forum 25 (4):325-344 (2013)
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I argue that young patients should be able to access neuroenhancing drugs without a diagnosis of ADHD. The current framework of consent for pediatric patients can be adapted to accommodate neuroenhancement. After a brief overview of pediatric neuroenhancement, I develop three arguments in favor of greater acceptance of neuroenhancement for young patients. First, ADHD is not relevantly different from other disadvantages that could be treated with stimulant medication. Second, establishing a legitimate framework for pediatric neuroenhancement would mitigate the bad effects of diversion and improve research on neuroenhancement and ADHD. Third, some pediatric patients have rights to access neuroenhancements. I then consider several objections to pediatric neuroenhancement. I address concerns about addiction, advertising, authentic development, the parent–child relationship and equal opportunity and conclude that these concerns may inform a framework for prescribing neuroenhancement but they do not justify limits on prescribing



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Jessica Flanigan
University of Richmond