The Need for Speed


Today's New York Times carries a quite sensible op-ed piece by a Persian Gulf War pilot defending the military's use of amphetamines. The only problem is that he insists on calling Dexedrine taken to combat fatigue and enhance alertness a "medication." Would he use the same term to describe a cup of coffee or a cigarette? In the context of work, these stimulants serve the same basic function as the Dexedrine taken by pilots (though not as effectively). The fact that a drug is dispensed by doctors does not make it a treatment for an illness, but that seems to be the only guise in which we can accept most psychoactive substances.