It is not a secret that many nootropics are freely available here in Russia. So it is not a surprise, that many people of different ages use them as a cognitive enhancement. On the order hand, nootropics are not that well known in other countries. 

We came across this recent research about how people in different countries try to improve their cognitive abilities:

In this study the authors use two datasets from The Global Drug Survey (GDS2015 and GDS2017). More than 100,000 participants (≥ 16 y.o.), they were residents of 15 countries: Austria, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, The Netherlands, The United Kingdom, and The United States of America. They were asked whether they had ever used any prescription or illegal stimulants to increase performance. Also there were questions about what exactly they have used, how often and what was the result. 

These are some of the most popular prescription or illegal stimulants: 

Adderall, an approved medicine for the treatment of ADHD symptoms in USA. Although it is of a high interest among American students, it may have adverse side effects for non-ADHD users. Also it can lead to decrease of creativity. 

Methylphenidate, a prescription stimulant indicated for the treatment of ADHD, is the most popular drug for PCE in Europe. 

Modafinil, an analeptic used to treat sleepiness due to narcolepsy. This one is the most commonly used for PCE among UK students. Despite leading to cognitive enhancing, Modafinil also may have negative effects related to emotion processing. 

Some people use a different strategy: they take alcohol, cannabis and other substances with sedative effects. This helps to reduce nervousness and anxiety to get possibly better mind-state on the next day. 

In the end, all these methods involve the high health risks. It can be really dangerous, so it’s strongly recommended to use only specialized factory-produced and lab-tested supplements, such as nootropics.