In recent years, there has been a growing concern for the non-medical use of prescription drugs by young adults, e particularly college e university students. These expanding practices of pharmaceutical drug use have been associated with different phenomena such as physical e cognitive enhancement, non-medical prescription drug use e recreational use. All of these various consuming practices involve a blurring of the boundaries between curing, preventing e enhancing e between recreational e productive activities. Some studies show the importance of linking pharmaceutical drug use with broader issues among students in academic settings, such as competitiveness, pressure, stress, depression e mental health issues. The main objective of this article is to explore some of the perceptions e rationales that underlie the use of non-medical e medical prescription drugs, natural products, energy drinks e other pharmaceutical or natural substances among university students in Montreal (Canada). Focus-groups e indepth, semi-structured interviews were realized with a sample of 42 students in order to link the consumption cultures of the participants with other variables, such as their lifestyle, their experience of psychological distress e anxiety e their need of achievement. Focusing on the young population fulfills the function of sociological forecast about the future trends in the expansion of pharmaceutical drug use for the management of everyday life in contemporary Western societies.
Keywords: Cognitive enhancement, Non-medical use, pharmaceuticals, performance, pharmaceuticalization, depression.