On the Sale and Consumption of Drugs

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hue-man
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:57 am
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;124668 wrote:
Going back to the original statement:



I think we've modified this, removing "is aware" and replacing it with "knows". I think regardless of age, you don't sell something to someone that they could hurt themselves with unless you have reason to believe they can handle it; that they know what they're getting into.

How does that hold up to the examples provided?


  • Drugs to a 12 year old--too young to really make decisions based on risk
  • Suicide--euthanasia vs teenage depressive seems to be drawn down the "know what they're doing" line, yes?
  • Mildly harmful/recreational--warning labels and education suffice
  • addictive--how does anyone know before hand what the addiction will be like? I think a strong argument could be made for not selling highly addictive drugs to someone who isn't addicted.



Of course, the "is it morally permissible for you to personally sell" is different from "what drugs should be illegal", because that has to keep matters of practicality in mind.


Thank you for bringing it home. My question was mainly about people's moral opinions on the matter, but it has now become more about the legality of such activities. It's understandable, though, because there is a thin line between ethics and law.

---------- Post added 02-03-2010 at 11:01 AM ----------

Caroline;124672 wrote:
Yeah I know, I'm trying.


For some people it's a constant struggle their entire lives, but life itself is a struggle. You just need to be 100% determined to quit and develop a psychological disdain for the substance. Go to a nicotine addiction program and they'll teach you a number of good techniques to avoid triggers and such.
 
Pyrrho
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 10:56 am
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;124637 wrote:
What it shows is that being dangerous is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient condition of legality, since there seem to be other necessary conditions. That doesn't make the laws "insane", though.


I presume you mean:

[INDENT][INDENT]What it shows is that being dangerous is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient condition of illegality, since there seem to be other necessary conditions. That doesn't make the laws "insane", though.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

The explanation that is typically given for why illegal drugs are illegal is that they are harmful, addictive, and serve no useful purpose. If that were the real motivation for making them illegal, the first thing that should be made illegal would be tobacco, because it is involved in more deaths, is about as addictive as anything, and serves no useful purpose (unlike some illegal drugs, that do have some useful purposes).

As for the laws being "insane", see definition 3 at:

Insane | Definition of Insane at Dictionary.com:

One of the requirements of a sensible course of action is consistency.

Now, if you can provide a reasonable explanation for why tobacco should be legal, and that all illegal drugs (in the U.S.) should be illegal, I would very much like to hear about it. I have never seen anything even close to a reasonable explanation for this.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 11:35 am
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;124691 wrote:
I presume you mean:

[INDENT][INDENT]What it shows is that being dangerous is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient condition of illegality, since there seem to be other necessary conditions. That doesn't make the laws "insane", though.[/INDENT][/INDENT]

The explanation that is typically given for why illegal drugs are illegal is that they are harmful, addictive, and serve no useful purpose. If that were the real motivation for making them illegal, the first thing that should be made illegal would be tobacco, because it is involved in more deaths, is about as addictive as anything, and serves no useful purpose (unlike some illegal drugs, that do have some useful purposes).



As I tried to indicate, I think this is part of the motivation, so that they would not be made illegal unless they were dangerous. But, of course, there are further motivations involved. Many drugs have useful purposes, but they are not sold indiscriminately. For instance, prescription heart medicines.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 02:31 pm
@kennethamy,
xris;124616 wrote:
Yum Yum..Has the sale of drugs got anything to do with morals or the expedient necessity to control the consumption of it. Moral justification must be tempered with knowing that prohibition creates more moral dilemmas and crime ridden streets.


And we are talking about morality, not law. They are quite different after all.

hue-man;124628 wrote:
It's not the same situation at all. Nearly every edible product has the potential to cause harm or even kill a person. Should I not sell candy because it can cause diabetes? Should I not sell water because the person could potentially become water intoxicated?


You can sell candy, fine, but it would be morally wrong for you to continue selling candy to a person who is clearly hurting themselves through over consumption.

Imagine a kid who continually scarfs down candy all day long. If I continue to sell the kid candy, I am facilitating his health problems. I am an accomplice to his self destruction. And I am morally responsible for my actions.
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 03:21 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;124732 wrote:
And we are talking about morality, not law. They are quite different after all.



You can sell candy, fine, but it would be morally wrong for you to continue selling candy to a person who is clearly hurting themselves through over consumption.

Imagine a kid who continually scarfs down candy all day long. If I continue to sell the kid candy, I am facilitating his health problems. I am an accomplice to his self destruction. And I am morally responsible for my actions.
I am talking about moral responsibility, if a man has a desire, my refusal to provide, by my moral standards, may cause more harm than my moral standards considered. So what do I do maintain the those morals and condemn him to a miserable existance or worse. Prohibition is a moral stand point , it does not solve humanities problems it just makes you feel morally superior.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 04:00 pm
@xris,
xris;124750 wrote:
I am talking about moral responsibility, if a man has a desire, my refusal to provide, by my moral standards, may cause more harm than my moral standards considered.


Maybe, sure. Why not?

But let us see if we can agree on this much: as a provider of a potentially harmful substance, do you bear any moral responsibility for your actions?

xris;124750 wrote:
Prohibition is a moral stand point , it does not solve humanities problems it just makes you feel morally superior.


Well, let's be clear: I oppose the prohibition of drugs.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 04:12 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;124762 wrote:




Well, let's be clear: I oppose the prohibition of drugs.


How about the prohibition of beta-blockers for people without heart disease. Do you think those should be dispensed to whoever wants them?
 
Emil
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 04:22 pm
@Pyrrho,
Pyrrho;124487 wrote:
Studies indicate that alcohol in moderation can be good for your cardiovascular system. (The amount is about one or two drinks per day, which cannot be saved up for a weekend binge for health benefits.) See:

Alcohol and cardiovascular disease - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1026830/pdf/westjmed00122-0062.pdf

So, if you are an ordinary adult (i.e., if you have no special health problems), and if you wanted optimum health, you would probably want to drink one or two drinks every day; no more, and no less. This makes it like other things that are good for you in moderation, but bad for you if taken in excess.


However, I have no problems with the idea that adults should be allowed to buy and use substances that can cause harm to them, provided that there are appropriate warning labels on them. If we followed this idea to its logical implications, illegal drugs would be made legal for adults. As things are, the laws are insane, as tobacco products are associated with more deaths than all illegal drugs combined (in the U.S.), which shows that the dangerousness of something does not determine whether something is legal or not.





Given that those are very broad categories, encompassing a wide range of views, one would likely be able to argue either way with any of those theories.


And even some drugs like shrooms, salvia divinorum etc. are either not very dangerous or their health consequences are unknown, they are still illegal in most places. Salvia is legal in some states as of yet because it is a relatively newly discovered drug by the general population (indians have been using it for many years).

---------- Post added 02-03-2010 at 11:29 PM ----------

kennethamy;124698 wrote:
As I tried to indicate, I think this is part of the motivation, so that they would not be made illegal unless they were dangerous. But, of course, there are further motivations involved. Many drugs have useful purposes, but they are not sold indiscriminately. For instance, prescription heart medicines.


Shrooms are not dangerous yet still illegal in the US. Shrooms are non-addictive.
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 04:30 pm
@Emil,
kennethamy;124767 wrote:
How about the prohibition of beta-blockers for people without heart disease.


I don't know enough of the details. I wasn't aware that such a market existed. Prohibition should be enacted pragmatically. Current US drug law, ie drug scheduling, is not pragmatic.

kennethamy;124767 wrote:
Do you think those should be dispensed to whoever wants them?


Probably not. Again, the person doing the dispensing has moral obligations much like a bartender has an obligation to cut off a patron who has had too much.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 05:42 pm
@Didymos Thomas,
Didymos Thomas;124776 wrote:
I don't know enough of the details. I wasn't aware that such a market existed. Prohibition should be enacted pragmatically. Current US drug law, ie drug scheduling, is not pragmatic.



Probably not. Again, the person doing the dispensing has moral obligations much like a bartender has an obligation to cut off a patron who has had too much.


No debate. Do you think that heart medication should be sold over the the counter?

And, if like most bartenders, he doesn't?
 
Didymos Thomas
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 07:05 pm
@kennethamy,
I don't know enough about heart medication to say what our public policy should be.

As for the dispenser who is not conscientious about his practice, he is morally in the wrong.
 
mister kitten
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 07:11 pm
@Caroline,
Caroline;124630 wrote:
But the nature of these products are not the same as say heroin which is far more addictive due to it's physical dependencies after the first try, candy a person can give up tomorrow where as cigarettes it is not so easy, why would a person drink himself to death, cigerettes are far more addictive, thus far more dangerous leading to death, there is a difference between the two therefore responsibilty should be exercised. I personally believe cigarettes shoud be bannned, what purpose do they serve? Selling water to quench ones thirst carries little to no risk.


Every day is leading towards death, except for the one day that meets it.

I don't like drugs at all, so I'm a little biased here. What if the consumer has children to take care of?
 
Leonard
 
Reply Wed 3 Feb, 2010 09:39 pm
@hue-man,
If drugs are legal yet heavily taxed, the same people who used to use them illegally will be inclined to steal them or grow it themselves and avoid paying more. Just a thought, I'm not sure where else to go with this.
 
xris
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 05:06 am
@Leonard,
Leonard;124824 wrote:
If drugs are legal yet heavily taxed, the same people who used to use them illegally will be inclined to steal them or grow it themselves and avoid paying more. Just a thought, I'm not sure where else to go with this.
the tax would represent the price that is appropriate, you dont see an awful lot of distilleries or tobacco plants for private consumption. Its not always the supply, its making it illegal that causes social problems. American prohibition of drink taught , should have,
us a lesson in the absurdity of making any recreational drugs illegal. It does not conclude that it be sold like the accepted method of alcohol or tobacco.
 
Dosed
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 02:13 pm
@hue-man,
There's a wonderful essay by Michael Huemer called "America's Unjust Drug War." In essence, it says that to illegalize the use of drugs is to infringe upon another person's autonomy. He uses several examples such as being sedentary, having unprotected sex, and dropping out of college, all of which are potentially harmful activities. However, if the government were to interfere and institute legal consequences to such activities, this would certainly be a violation of our natural rights. As human beings, we have the right to be lazy, promiscuous and unmotivated in the previous examples. Why is the line drawn at recreational drug use?

But even more importantly, why does it even matter? One would assume that what we put into our own bodies is that of our own concern, and is not the business of the government. This idea comes from the initiative that individuals own their own bodies. Individuals have a right to their own bodies; this is seen in laws protecting individuals from crimes such as kidnapping, rape, and murder. Individuals have the right to be autonomously in control of their own bodies, so long as it does not infringe upon another individual’s autonomous right to be in control of their own bodies.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 02:50 pm
@hue-man,
How far do you extend that right, dosed? The government has many safety laws. Would you extend it to a right to not wear a seatbelt?

If individuals have the right to be autonomously in control of their own bodies, what about substances that remove some of that control?
 
Dosed
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 06:17 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;124942 wrote:
How far do you extend that right, dosed? The government has many safety laws. Would you extend it to a right to not wear a seatbelt?

If individuals have the right to be autonomously in control of their own bodies, what about substances that remove some of that control?



I would say that it extends as far as possible. So long as one individual's expression of their autonomy doesn't infringe upon another person's autonomy, then what is the problem? What one does in the privacy of their own home and to their own bodies is of no concern to anyone else, so long as it doesn't infringe upon their rights and ability to be in control of themselves. Why would it be?
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 06:24 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed.;124971 wrote:
I would say that it extends as far as possible. So long as one individual's expression of their autonomy doesn't infringe upon another person's autonomy, then what is the problem? What one does in the privacy of their own home and to their own bodies is of no concern to anyone else, so long as it doesn't infringe upon their rights and ability to be in control of themselves. Why would it be?


But then you would let hundreds of thousands die, just so that you don't infringe on their right to not wear a seatbelt? Don't we have a moral responsibility to look out for one another's well being?

I assume you agree that it is only after a certain age that one acquires these rights you talk of. So, there is already the implication that good judgment is required.

I think the law has to be pragmatic, and to that end talk of innate rights loses some of it's value, especially when used so broadly.
 
Dosed
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 06:40 pm
@Jebediah,
Jebediah;124973 wrote:
But then you would let hundreds of thousands die, just so that you don't infringe on their right to not wear a seatbelt? Don't we have a moral responsibility to look out for one another's well being?

I assume you agree that it is only after a certain age that one acquires these rights you talk of. So, there is already the implication that good judgment is required.

I think the law has to be pragmatic, and to that end talk of innate rights loses some of it's value, especially when used so broadly.


Yes. We do have a moral resposibility to look out for one another's well-being. therefore, we should do that through education. Equip people with the knowledge to make healthy decisions. If they have that knowledge, and still choose to make an unhealthy decision, so be it. it's their prerogative. How can we tell them any different? (assuming that their unhealthy decisions aren't harming another person in any way.)
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Thu 4 Feb, 2010 06:52 pm
@Dosed,
Dosed.;124977 wrote:
Yes. We do have a moral resposibility to look out for one another's well-being. therefore, we should do that through education. Equip people with the knowledge to make healthy decisions. If they have that knowledge, and still choose to make an unhealthy decision, so be it. it's their prerogative. How can we tell them any different? (assuming that their unhealthy decisions aren't harming another person in any way.)


But this doesn't solve the problem. Without getting bogged down with the definition of knowledge, telling people something doesn't give them understanding.

If you agree that children should be kept from drugs (whether they have been taught the dangers or not), then you are accepting that some level of good judgment and knowledge is required. People have a right to make decisions regarding their own bodies. But decisions have requirements.

It is ok for the government to take a heroin addict living in a dung heap and force him to go through rehab? Or does one argue that it is his right to do that.
 
 

 
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