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I remember reading a story about where everyone used cognitive enhancement drugs to perform intellectually. The main character had a daughter that used them (in law school?) but they were earlier drugs that had negative consequences (burning people out, making them stutter, other cognitive problems with their long term use.)

Eventually, the drugs became better. People would take them, and work without stopping, to "get ahead." There were many social problems due to people not slowing down to have families, not sleeping, and had generally dystopian elements. It was also difficult for the people on the earlier set of drugs to compete with those on the later drugs.

I remember one part, how when people would finally take a break from their job, they wouldn't sleep. They'd party, skydive, or bungee jump, or drink and dance.

It was in a sad tone, where the narrator/main character would talk about how his daughter's life was messed up, because she tried to get ahead.

The software company I own is meeting with a nootropic supplement (not evaluated by the FDA...) company tomorrow, and I'd love to be able to ask if they've read this story. This will probably not be helpful for the sale, but it will make things interesting if they have read it! I'd like to be able to identify this by title, author, and Internet Archive link, if possible.

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    Around when did you read it? Where (a magazine, the Internet)? Was it a short story? – Stormblessed Jul 11 at 20:24
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    Purely on a personal note, your plan sounds like a terrible idea that's likely to sabotage your chances of winning this contract. You might want to ask a question on Workplace:SE before you do it, to get a few second opinions before you intentionally damage your company. – Valorum Jul 11 at 20:58
  • Sounds a lot like something Philip K. Dick might have written, but didn’t. – Todd Wilcox Jul 12 at 4:31
  • @stormblessed I think this was a short story, but possibly an audiobook version of an out-of-copyright sci-fi magazine from Librovox. I'm not sure when, sometime in the last 15 years I think? – Brian Stinar Jul 13 at 1:35
  • @Valorum you may have a good point there. I'd like to re-read this before the meeting, even if I decide not to self-sabotage. I'll make sure to provide an update either way. – Brian Stinar Jul 13 at 1:35
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+125

It's not a short story but rather a novel, however, Mindblast (1991) by Diane Duane and Peter Morwood, the first book in the Space Cops series seems to match quite well. I can't find a version of the story online and there isn't too much out there on it but the below descriptions give a bit of detail on it.

Officer Lon Salonikis discovered the dark secret behind the Hyperprocess - a conspiracy of mind-altering proportions buried in the deviant quarter Freedom II. And now Salonikis has been terminated.

Only Solar Patrol Rangers Evan Glyndower and Joss O'Bannion are fearless enough to venture downlevel - courting certain death to unmask their former partner's assassin...and to learn the terrible price of the ultimate ecstasy.

The first book in Diane Duane's Space Cops series, "Mindblast", is centered around the spread of Hyper 2, an intelligence enhancing (and lethal) drug complete with full chemical name and a lengthy description of how the drug worked. Cue heartbreak when the heroes discover that the man who created the drug wasn't some sleazy dealer, he had been trying to research a cure for his mentally retarded daughter.

TVTropes, Fantastic Drug

It is partially available to search through on Google Books but it doesn't show too much information.

She had heard from some friends about hyper - how it gave you the time to do other things while still getting your work done... getting it done better than before, in fact.

[...]

Hyper 2: A dangerous new drug manufactured in zero gravity - an irresistible essence that enriches every thought,

Mindblast


I actually found this by searching the above linked TVTropes page that @jo1storm had linked in the comments.

  • Thanks, but I don't think this is the one I was looking for. I'll see if I can get a complete copy of this, read it, and then say for sure. – Brian Stinar Jul 19 at 19:41

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