Usage patterns over time
Which geographic regions have the highest modafinil use? Where do people use modafinil?
The drug companies don't give out that information. We can try to guess propensity for use of this drug from uses of other stimulants and related medicines. Do high-stress cities full of hard-working white collar workers (e.g. New York) lead to modafinil use? We can guess they might, but there is no hard evidence.
It is reasonable to think that younger adults would be more likely to use performance-enhancing stimulants just because they grew up as part of the Ritalin generation. Their classmates took Ritalin, and they don’t see use of this type of medicine as a big deal. They are less likely to have a stigma against ADHD drugs than their elders.
Culture matters, too, and modafinil may have passed a “tipping point” sometime in the past 10 years . People in the country of Turkey consume more tea per capita than any other country (90% of Turks drink tea every day). 60% of Turkish men and 20% of women smoke cigarettes. Yet modafinil, which is sold over the counter, is not widely used. A 2009 study by University of Nottingham researchers looked at modafinil coverage in the media. The authors found that "cultural conceptions of "normality" were also central in the recreational discourse where debates were situated around the use of modafinil for enhancement or improvement of ‘normal bodies’."
Economists have the concept of luxury goods, which are things that show increasing demand as incomes rise. There is anecdotal evidence that modafinil is a luxury good.
Worldwide, ADHD medications use is on the upswing. A recent study showed that per capita gross domestic product correlated positively with use of ADHD drugs across countries, but the United States, Canada, and Australia showed significantly higher-than-predicted use.
However, modafinil's benefits in treatment of excessive sleepiness due to Shift Work Sleep Disorder suggest that it will find use among working class people.