Modafinil on the Job
Overworked Americans may look to Modafinil to help them out. Many people have jobs that are mentally demanding and exhausting. While in the past people may have done physical labor all day and ended tired in their muscles, today a large part of the workforce does mental labor all day and ends with an “out of gas” feeling. Stimulants can give a temporary boost to the brain and enable further output.
Coffee is renowned as the fuel of the modern office, partly because its caffeine gives people energy and helps increase their productivity. Modafinil is attractive to some because of its promise of side-effect free mental energy. Be careful, though. Modafinil is not a miracle drug and it does have some side effects in some people, although for most users the side effects are mild compared to other prescription stimulants. Remember also that Modafinil is a prescription medication and can only be legally obtained with a doctor’s authorization. Ethically, a doctor cannot write a prescription just because someone wants to perform better at work. A legitimate medical condition must be diagnosed before this medication is prescribed.
Will Modafinil make junior lawyers into work machines who will be on the partner track? If that's what you're expecting, you should probably revise your expectations. The medicine does not do miracles and although it can help many people, it is not a panacea.
Harvard Business School had an article in 2016 about "smart drugs" in the office.
In July 2008, the Washington Post's Tech Crunch column featured an article on Modafinil use in Silicon Valley. It quoted buzz that Modafinil is the "entrepreneur's drug of choice" because it lets people work harder and better.
An article in the Human Resources magazine Personneltoday.com talked about the potential for Provigil use in the workplace, and admitted that the smart drugs work, but quoted an HR expert as saying "the idea that any kind of medication is a quick fix which can boost work performance should be anathema to HR professionals,"
What about long distance driving? Professional truck drivers as well as regular motorists sometimes drive long distances and are afflicted with drowsy driving. Provigil has the potential to help them stay awake and alert; indeed the military gives pilots this medicine to help them stay sharp in the cockpit. Drowsy driving is a major safety hazard. The trucking industry long had a problem with drivers using amphetamines. Having drivers on Provigil may not be the optimal case (it would be better if they got a full night’s sleep before driving), but all things considered, Provigil might be better than having the same drivers on speed or driving while drowsy.
The Times of London had an article on professors using Provigil "to give them the edge over their rivals when giving presentations."