August 10, 2010
Against the Prohibition of “Illegal” Drugs
Issues of ethics surrounding the permissibility of drug use can usually be grouped into two main categories when discussed with regard to the harm the use of such substances causes. The first type of harm is that which the individual, who chooses to use drugs on their own accord, inflicts upon themselves, namely that which is a direct result of either the substance use itself or that which results as a consequence of one’s actions while under the influence of the drug. The second general type of harm caused by drug use that is morally relevant to this issue is the harm caused to other people besides the drug user, as well as the harm caused to society as a whole as a result of the user’s decision to use drugs. For the sake of this issue, I turn to what most people would regard as an obvious moral wrong: inflicting a state of intoxication upon another individual without their consent. I believe it is safe to say that this type of behavior- which usually involves slipping someone drugs without their knowledge or against their wishes- is blatantly impermissible in a moral sense. The issue at hand here is one that society need not fear with respect to the authority of the government since, to my knowledge, nobody has yet proposed any law calling for the enforcement of a policy of compulsory intoxication. The notion of such a regulation seems absolutely outrageous since such a law would demonstrate an utter failure to acknowledge, let alone respect one’s natural right to control their own body. In order to use this in an effort to address the moral permissibility of voluntarily inducing a state of intoxication upon oneself however, a few important distinctions must be explained if any sort of accurate comparison is to be made. Although it is regarded by a vast majority of prudent people as morally wrong to drug somebody who does not wish to take drugs, or to otherwise control another’s...