In this paper, I identify an argument derived from the commitments of John Rawls’s liberalism for restricting the consumption of recreational drugs in a liberal society, but not because of a great passion for restriction at present. The argument can also be used to respond to Jonathan Quong’s example of an unresolvable disagreement between liberal citizens.
Historically, laws and policies to criminalize drug use or possession were rooted in explicit racism, and they continue to wreak havoc on certain racialized communities. We are a group of bioethicists, drug experts, legal scholars, criminal justice researchers, sociologists, psychologists, and other allied professionals who have come together in support of a policy proposal that is evidence-based and ethically recommended. We call for the immediate decriminalization of all so-called recreational drugs and, ultimately, for their timely and appropriate legal regulation. We (...) also call for criminal convictions for nonviolent offenses pertaining to the use or possession of small quantities of such drugs to be expunged, and for those currently serving time for these offenses to be released. In effect, we call for an end to the “war on drugs.”. (shrink)
Soll der Freizeitkonsum von Drogen wie Marihuana, Kokain, Heroin und LSD einem gesetzlichen Verbot unterliegen? Drogengegner sagen ja. Sie behaupten für gewöhnlich, Drogenkonsum sei sowohl für den Nutzer als auch für die Gesellschaft allgemein äußerst schädlich – vielleicht sogar unmoralisch, und sie glauben, diese Tatsachen seien als Verbotsgrund ausreichend. Freigabebefürworter sagen nein und berufen sich dabei für gewöhnlich auf eines oder mehrere von drei Argumenten: Erstens behaupten einige, Drogenkonsum sei nicht so schädlich, wie Drogengegner meinen, und sei gelegentlich sogar nützlich. (...) Zweitens behaupten einige, Drogenverbote „funktionierten“ nicht, d. h. sie verhinderten den Drogenkonsum nicht besonders wirksam und hätten eine Reihe sehr nachteiliger Folgewirkungen. Schließlich behaupten einige, Drogenverbote seien Unrecht oder verletzten Rechte. -/- Ich unternehme an dieser Stelle nicht den Versuch, all diese Argumente zu besprechen. Stattdessen beschränke ich mich auf die drei Hauptargumente der Drogendebatte: Erstens demjenigen, Drogen solle man aufgrund der Schädigung der Konsumenten verbieten; zweitens, man solle sie verbieten, weil sie außer den Konsumenten noch anderen schadeten; und drittens, man solle sie legalisieren, weil Drogenverbote Rechte verletzten. Ich richte mein Augenmerk auf die moralphilosophischen Fragen, welche diese Argumente aufwerfen, statt auf medizinische oder gesellschaftliche Fragen und werde zeigen, dass die beiden Verbotsargumente scheitern, wogegen das dritte Argument für die Freigabe greift. -/- [This is a German translation of "America's Unjust Drug War". In The New Prohibition, ed. Bill Masters (St. Louis, Mo.: Accurate Press, 2004), p. 133-144.]. (shrink)
Addiction is one of the most significant problems facing contemporary society. Consequently many scholars, institutions and clinicians have sought to understand this complex phenomenon, as is evident in the abundance of etiological models of addiction in existence today. A literature review pointed that there is little consensus regarding the nature and etiopathogenesis of addiction, and integrative models have not yet been able to provide the sought-after integration. In addressing this problem, this study offers a theoretical analysis of the paradigmatic and (...) meta-paradigmatic suitability of Integral Theory in the design of an integrated metatheory of addiction. The data consisted of the most prominent etiological theories and models of addiction. The study focused on several essential features constituting the architectonic of any metatheory that attempts to provide conceptual scaffolding for the construction of a comprehensive metatheory of addiction. The criteria for the construction of a metatheory were conceptual integration, ontological span, ontological depth, empirical validity and internal consistency. Integral Theory was critically assessed in terms of each of the abovementioned criteria. The study suggests that Integral Theory is eminently suitable as a philosophical foundation for the development of an integrated metatheory of addiction. (shrink)
Recreational Drugs European Network (ReDNet) project aims to use the Psychonaut Web Mapping Project database (Psychonaut Web Mapping Group, 2009) containing novel psychoactive compounds usually not mentioned in the scientific literature and thus unknown to clinicians as a unique source of information. The database will be used to develop an integrated ICT prevention approach targeted at vulnerable individuals and focused on novel synthetic and herbal compounds and combinations. Particular care will be taken in keeping the health professionals working directly with (...) young people showing problematic behaviors regularly updated in terms of novel compounds and combinations as well. A user-friendly project website will be developed aimed primarily at delivering the information/prevention approaches, but will also be a way of communicating with project partners and relevant stakeholders (e.g. thematic forum facilities, instant messages, blogs, video chat, wikiblog, newsletters distributed via mailing list). The website will support various ICT prevention tools, including an SMS alert service. Different areas and sections will be aimed specifically at the different target groups. -/- . (shrink)
This paper is a survey of the positive and negative aspects of cannabis use from the point of view of the individual on one hand and from the point of view of the society on the other hand. Health, social, and political motives are all discussed, and the best method of harm reduction is analysed. The upshot is that zero tolerance policy is obsolete, and that most individuals would be better off using cannabis rather than other drugs.
There is mounting evidence that methylphenidate (MPH; Ritalin) is being used by healthy college students to improve concentration, alertness, and academic performance. One of the key concerns associated with such use of pharmaceuticals is the degree of freedom individuals have to engage in or abstain from cognitive enhancement (CE). From a pragmatic perspective, careful examination of the ethics of acts and contexts in which they arise includes considering coercion and social pressures to enhance cognition. We were interested in understanding how (...) university students, parents of university students, and healthcare providers viewed autonomy and coercion in CE using MPH. We found that perspectives converged on the belief that CE is a matter of personal and individual choice. Perspectives also converged on the existence of tremendous social pressures to perform and succeed. Parents emphasized personal responsibility and accountability for CE choices, and expressed feelings of worry, sadness and fear about CE. Students emphasized the importance of personal integrity in CE, expressed tolerance for personal choices of others, and highlighted the challenge that CE poses to maintaining one’s personal integrity. Healthcare providers emphasized the health consequences of CE. These results illustrate: (1) the importance of understanding how context is viewed in relation to perspectives on autonomous choice; (2) the limitations of individualistic libertarian approaches that do not consider social context; and (3) the ethical implications of public health interventions in a value-laden debate where perspectives diverge. (shrink)
Evidence suggests that research participants often fail to recall much of the information provided during the informed consent process. This study was conducted to determine the proportion of consent information recalled by drug court participants following a structured informed consent procedure and the neuropsychological factors that were related to recall. Eighty-five participants completed a standard informed consent procedure to participate in an ongoing research study, followed by a 17-item consent quiz and a brief neuropsychological battery 2 weeks later. Participants performed (...) within the normal range on most of the neuropsychological measures, although roughly one third showed deficits on measures of executive functioning. Participants failed to recall over 65% of the consent information within 2 weeks of entering the study, and their recall was significantly correlated with verbal IQ, drug problem severity, reading ability, memory, and attention. These factors may be useful in determining whether research participants require enhanced consent procedures. (shrink)
Volume Four, as indicated by the anthology's subtitle, is in honor of Simone de Beauvoir (1908-1986) and Martin Heidegger (1889-1976). The chapters do not necessarily mention Simone de Beauvoir or Martin Heidegger. The 16 chapters (by professional philosophers and other professional scholars) are directed to issues related to death, life extension, and anti-death. Most of the 400-plus pages consist of scholarship unique to this volume. Includes index. -/- -/- The titles of the 16 chapters are as follows: -/- -/- 1. (...) Mechanism, Galileo’s Animale And Heidegger’s Gestell: Reflections On The Lifelessness Of Modern Science by GiorgioBaruchello -/- -/- 2. Simone De Beauvoir by Debra Bergoffen -/- 3. Existentialism by Steven Crowell -/- -/- 4. Time Wounds All Heels by William Grey -/- -/- 5. The Ethical Importance Of Death by Jenann Ismael -/- 6. The Poetics Of Death: Intimations And Illusions by Lawrence Kimmel -/- -/- 7. Death And Aesthetics by Keith Lehrer -/- -/- 8. Ageing And Existentialism: Simone De Beauvoir And The Limits Of Freedom by Shannon M. Mussett -/- -/- 9. Life Extension And Meaning by Carol O’Brien -/- -/- 10. Consciousness As Computation: A Defense Of Strong AI Based On Quantum-State Functionalism by R. Michael Perry -/- -/- 11. Reality Shifts: On The Death And Dying Of Dr. Timothy Leary by Carol Sue Rosin -/- -/- 12. Extraterrestrial Liberty And The Great Transmutation by Charles Tandy -/- -/- 13. A Time Travel Schema And Eight Types Of Time Travel by Charles Tandy -/- -/- 14. Boredom, Experimental Ethics, And Superlongevity by Mark Walker -/- -/- 15. Exopolitics: The Death Of Death by Alfred Lambremont Webre -/- -/- 16. Embryo Cloning: Current State Of The Medical Art And Its Far-Reaching Consequences For Multiple Applications by Panayiotis M.Zavos. (shrink)
Both for reasons of their own and because of congressionally mandated changes in the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act, many colleges and universities have changed the way they deal with alcohol abuse by their students. One of these changes has been to adopt a policy of “Parental Notification” according to which parents of an underaged student found guilty of consuming alcohol are notified after a first offense. I argue that this is a paternalistic policy in need of justification, and (...) that justifying it is made the more difficult because of barriers to its being successfully pursued. Nonetheless, I suggest that such a policy, if a weak paternalistic one, can be morally justified. (shrink)
Despite analgesic and emetogenic benefits, cannabis has been banned from prescription in a number of western countries. Although some benefits are shared by drugs already available, the options of prescription are limited to the physician. The negative side-effects of cannabis do not justify this limitation on freedom and autonomy. Recreational use warrants limitations, as the search for euphoria is regularly believed to be a non-autonomous behavior. Medical prescriptions serve an analgesic and emetogenic purpose comparable to other prescribed drugs. This vindicates (...) the right for a physician to prescribe cannabis to qualified patients. For a patient to be considered qualified, they must be an adult that does not drive often, is not pregnant, and not at risk of schizophrenia or cardiovascular disease. If possible, cannabis should be eaten in an effort to avoid smoke irritation in the lungs and aerodigestive tract. In the end, the question is not whether cannabis use is efficable, but rather is the limitation of medical treatments to patients in need ethical? In light of the medical benefits, the banning of cannabis is simply immoral. Keywords: cannabis, banned substance, prescription, analgesic, emetogenic Note. Authors did not receive any external funding, nor display conflict of interest. (shrink)
Recent evidence shows significant potential for therapies involving psychedelic substances such as psilocybin and MDMA to improve clinical outcomes for patients experiencing various mental disorders. However, research to date focuses almost exclusively on adults. I argue that adolescents should be included in research into psychedelic therapies. First, I demonstrate the pressing need for novel interventions to address the growing mental health burden of adolescents, and I draw on empirical evidence to show that research into psychedelic therapies presents an opportunity to (...) address this shortfall. Secondly, I argue that psychedelics pose low risk to young patients, particularly relative to existing psychiatric medications. I then address two major concerns specific to adolescent contexts. First, I address the risks of using psychedelic substances at earlier stages of physiological and cognitive development. I note that the lack of understanding of the risks underscores the need for including adolescents in research. I then address the added complexity of consent in the adolescent context. I highlight some additional concerns that should be addressed in an “enhanced” informed consent process for adolescents and defend the view that capable adolescents should be able to consent to psychedelic interventions. I ultimately hold that including adolescents in emerging psychedelic research has the potential to substantiate innovative treatments that could improve their clinical outcomes, long-term mental health and quality of life. (shrink)