A drug called Modafinil has been widely available in America for the last decade.
It is prescribed for people who have trouble sleeping, keeping them awake until night time thus ensuring they get a good eight hours of deep sleep.
It is often used, off label, by individuals who need to stay awake to meet a work deadline and as a performance enhancer.
Although not to be encouraged this fact did not give any particular cause for concern as Modafinil is seen as a substance that has no effect on the dopamine levels in the brain. Only drugs that increase these levels are deemed to be abused by users.
A new study, however, has shown that Modafinil does indeed create a rise in dopamine levels present in the brain. Nora Volkow who was involved in the study believes that no-one should use the drug unless prescribed by a doctor. Not just because of this discovery but also because of the potential for harmful side affects.
The head scientific officer of the makers Cephhalon reiterated that Modafinil was a very serious medicine designed to treat very serious medical conditions. It was never designed for casual use by people who want to stay awake a bit longer for a school project.
No official figures are known in regard to the level of addiction with the drug but scientist Jeffry Vaught believes than medical practitioners should be on the look out for its misuse by their patients.
Its status as a schedule IV controlled substance may need to be re-visited in the near future.