Studying with diligent friends is fine, says Heidi Lessing, a University of Delaware sophomore. But after a couple of hours, it’s time for a break, a little gossip: ‘I want to talk about somebody walking by in the library.’ One of those friends, however, is working too hard for dish — way too hard. Instead of joining in the gossip, ‘She says, ‘Be quiet,’ ‘ Lessing says, astonishment still registering in her voice. Her friend’s attention is laserlike, totally focused on her texts, even after an evening of study. ‘We were so bored,’ Lessing says. But the friend was still ‘really into it. It’s annoying.’ The reason for the difference: Her pal is fueled with ‘smart pills’ that increase her concentration, focus, wakefulness and short-term memory. As university students all over the country emerge from final exam hell this month, the number of healthy people using bootleg pharmaceuticals of this sort seems to be soaring. Such brand-name prescription drugs ‘were around in high school, but they really exploded in my third and fourth years’ of college, says Katie Garrett, a 2005 University of Virginia graduate. The bootleg use even in her high […]

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