Game Politics (gamepolitics) wrote,
Game Politics

Are Competitive Gamers Looking to Drugs For an Edge?

If it's good enough for Barry Bonds, it's good enough for me. At least, that's how some competitive gamers may be approaching their sport.

While the gamer stimulant of choice has traditionally been caffeine, administered via Bawls or various energy drinks, an article at Twitch Guru claims that the prescription drug Ritalin has been gaining in popularity.

Ritalin, normally used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, and chronic fatigue, has become popular with some college students because the powerful stimulant helps them stay sharp and focused during all-night cram sessions. Effects like those would also help the marathon gamer - but is game-related Ritalin abuse really happening?

"Amphetamines and methamphetamines are becoming popular," said Dr. Maressa Orzack, founder and coordinator of the Computer Addiction Services clinic at McLean Hospital in Newton, Massachusetts. "They can certainly help you stay up for long hours and probably help enhance the excitement. A lot of gamers, particularly the addicted ones, try to find ways to avoid sleep and keep their concentration. Marijuana is still the prime example when it comes to video games. I haven't had any of my patients tell me about [Ritalin and amphetamines] yet, but I won't be surprised when someone does."

Author Aaron McKenna claims to have spoken to an anonymous source in the professional gaming industry who said, "I haven't seen anything first hand, but there have been a lot of whispers about kids who come into Halo 2 tournaments, for example, high on Ritalin." The anonymous source goes on to reveal that, although drugs are not allowed at professional gaming events, competitors are not tested for them. "As the money gets bigger at these events, and as drugs like Ritalin become more prevalent at LAN party competitions, this will probably become a greater problem."

McKenna attended a LAN party in an effort to see some gamer drug use in action. He was not disappointed and chronicled his experience in the Twitch Guru article. McKenna claimed that during the all-night event he saw gamers snorting Ritalin, drinking all types of liquor, smoking marijuana, and spiking drinks with a combination of Ecstasy and Viagra.

AE: If you can't game for fourteen hours straight without the use of an upper - you suck and that's all there is to it. Back in my day, we'd buy the newest Sierra adventure game, take it home and play it well into the following morning without sleep, drugs, or coffee. That's how a real gamer does it.

-Reporting from San Diego, GP Correspondent Andrew Eisen

Tags: aaron mckenna, drug abuse, drugs, maressa orzack, ritalin
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