Drug Use and Abuse: The Ethical Issues

  1. Gregory R. Bock Organizer and
  2. Julie Whelan
  1. Brenda Almond

Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

DOI: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch16

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions

How to Cite

Almond, B. (2007) Drug Use and Abuse: The Ethical Issues, in Ciba Foundation Symposium 166 - Cocaine: Scientific and Social Dimensions (eds G. R. Bock and J. Whelan), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9780470514245.ch16

Author Information

  1. Social Values Research Centre, University of Hull, Hull HU6 7RX, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 28 SEP 2007

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780471931799

Online ISBN: 9780470514245

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Keywords:

  • drug use;
  • drug abuse;
  • interconnection;
  • utilitarianism;
  • personal equation

Summary

Drug abuse is both a personal and a public issue, raising questions about individual rights and the boundaries of law, as well as about national sovereignty and international control. Ethical issues that arise under these headings may be related to certain broad ethical positions. The implications of adopting utilitarian assumptions may be contrasted with basing ethics on a theory of individual rights, closely related to a theory of human nature. Neither position justifies a libertarian presumption against control, for, first, an individual decision to expose one's mind and personality to the control of drugs cannot be ethically justified and, second, there are no ethical reasons, nor any compelling arguments from social and political theory, for decriminalizing non-medical drug use.