Why does American law allow the recreational use of some drugs, such as alcohol, tobacco, and caffeine, but not others, such as marijuana, cocaine, and heroin? The answer lies not simply in the harm the use of these drugs might cause, but in the perceived morality—or lack thereof—of their recreational use. Despite strong rhetoric from moral critics of recreationaldrug use, however, it is surprisingly difficult to discern the reasons they have for deeming the recreational (...) use of (some) drugs morally wrong. In this book, Rob Lovering lays out and dissects various arguments for the immorality of using marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and other drugs recreationally. He contends that, by and large, these arguments do not succeed. Lovering's book represents one of the first works to systematically present, analyze, and critique arguments for the moral wrongness of recreationaldrug use. Given this, as well as the popularity of the morality-based defense of the United States' drug laws, this book is an important and timely contribution to the debate on the recreational use of drugs. (shrink)
There is a wide array of arguments for the immorality of recreationaldrug use, ranging from the philosophically rudimentary to the philosophically sophisticated. But the vast majority of these arguments are unsuccessful, and those that succeed are quite limited in scope. In this article, I present and evaluate a few examples of such arguments.
This paper argues for two claims. First, recreationaldrug use is immoral because it undermines cognitive functioning. Second, for similar reasons, the state has a prima facie public policy interest in enacting legal restrictions on recreationaldrug use. In this context, “recreationaldrug use” refers to activities in which a person uses some intoxicating substance to impair, destroy, or otherwise frustrate the functioning of his cognitive faculties for the sake of pleasure or enjoyment.
Individual differences in moral views are often explained as the downstream effect of ideological commitments, such as political orientation and religiosity. Recent studies in the U.S. suggest that moral views about recreationaldrug use are also influenced by attitudes toward sex and that this relationship cannot be explained by ideological commitments. In this study, we investigate student samples from Belgium, The Netherlands, and Japan. We find that, in all samples, sexual attitudes are strongly related to views about (...) class='Hi'>recreationaldrug use, even after controlling for various ideological variables. We discuss our results in light of reproductive strategies as determinants of moral views. (shrink)
The current debate on recreationaldrug policy is roughly a contest between prohibition advocates and legalization advocates. This paper offers a third alternative that is a compromise between those two. The centralized-use compromise can secure the autonomy interests that are important to defenders of legalization, and it can prevent harms to others that are the focus of prohibition arguments. The centralized-use compromise also offers a possible way to reduce the black market while also reducing the rate of addiction (...) and the associated debasing harms to self. (shrink)
The term “off-label drug use” refers to drugs that have not yet acquired “approved” status or drugs that have acquired “approved” status but are used with a different dosage, route, or administration method other than that for which the drug has been approved. In New Zealand, the Medicines Act 1981 specifically allows for off-label drug use. However, this authority is limited by the Health and Disability Commissioner Regulations 1996 and the common law, which require that off-label (...) class='Hi'>drug use is of an acceptable standard, that the patient should be fully informed, and that the patient should give informed consent. Off-label drug use is an important issue because the current law provides medical practitioners very wide discretionary power, without providing clarification for what is required of the practitioner in exercising his or her discretion in prescribing off-label. This paper discusses possible solutions to this issue, for example, establishing protocol for off-label use, an electronic database of off-label use, and the amendment of legal provisions. (shrink)
Most people who are regular consumers of psychoactive drugs are not drug addicts, nor will they ever become addicts. In neurobiological theories, non-addictive drug consumption is acknowledged only as a prerequisite for addiction, but not as a stable and widespread behavior in its own right. This target article proposes a new neurobiological framework theory for non-addictive psychoactive drug consumption, introducing the concept of Psychoactive drugs are consumed for their effects on mental states. Humans are able to learn (...) that mental states can be changed on purpose by drugs, in order to facilitate other, non-drug-related behaviors. We discuss specific and outline neurobiological mechanisms of how major classes of psychoactive drugs change mental states and serve non-drug-related behaviors. We argue that drug instrumentalization behavior may provide a functional adaptation to modern environments based on a historical selection for learning mechanisms that allow the dynamic modification of consummatory behavior. It is assumed that in order to effectively instrumentalize psychoactive drugs, the establishment of and retrieval from a drug memory is required. Here, we propose a new classification of different drug memory subtypes and discuss how they interact during drug instrumentalization learning and retrieval. Understanding the everyday utility and the learning mechanisms of non-addictive psychotropic drug use may help to prevent abuse and the transition to drug addiction in the future. (shrink)
Genetic intervention is on the near horizon for the treatment of substance abu se. Genetic intervention involves a reprogramming of a person’s own genetic instructions so that that person will no longer have the physical craving for the drug of choice. Unlike pharmacologic intervention, genetic intervention will change the genetic identity of the person, albeit slightly. The legal issue is whether one has a fundamental right to this medical procedure. A fundamental right is one that the government cannot deny (...) without a compelling interest. The case law indicates that the right o f medical necessity applies when the person’s affliction is serious, there are no reasonable or effective alternatives, the person did not intentionally cause the condition, and the treatment is effective for the long term. Unlike the medical marijuana ph enomenon, genetic intervention is per se anti - drug, unrelated to illegal, recreationaldrug use, and on its face has a medical use. Legal doctrines to date though not directly on point are conceptually compatible with the existence of a fundamental right of medical necessity for genetic intervention. (shrink)
Prescribing drugs for uses that the FDA has not approved — off-label drug use — can sometimes be justified but is typically not supported by substantial evidence of effectiveness. At the root of inappropriate off-label drug use lie perverse incentives for pharmaceutical firms and flawed oversight of prescribing physicians. Typical reform proposals such as increased sanctions for manufacturers might reduce the incidence of unjustified off-label use, but they do not remove the source of the problem. Public policy should (...) address the cause and control the practice. To manage inappropriate off-label drug use, off-label prescriptions must be tracked in order to monitor the risks and benefits and the manufacturers’ conduct. Even more important, reimbursement rules should be changed so that manufacturers cannot profit from off-label sales. When off-label sales pass a critical threshold, manufacturers should also be required to pay for independent testing of the safety and effectiveness of off-label drug uses and for the FDA to review the evidence. Manufacturers should also finance, under FDA supervision, programs designed to warn physicians and the public about the risks of off-label drug use. (shrink)
The war on drugs is widely criticized as unjust. The idea that the laws prohibiting drugs are unjust can easily lead to the conclusion that those laws do not deserve our respect, so that our only moral reason to obey them flows from a general moral obligation to obey the law, rather than from anything morally troubling about drug use itself. In this paper, I argue that this line of thinking is mistaken. I begin by arguing that the (...) class='Hi'>drug laws are indeed unjust. However, so long as they remain prohibited, I argue that we have strong moral reasons to avoid drug use. First, drug users are partly responsible for the violent and exploitative conditions in which many drugs are produced and distributed. Second, the unequal ways in which drug laws are enforced make drug use by many an unethical exercise of privilege. These reasons do not depend on the existence of a general moral obligation to obey the law; we ought to refrain from illegal drug use even if prohibition is unjust and even if we have no general obligation to obey the law. In fact, drug laws turn out to represent an interesting exception case within the broader debate about this obligation, and I argue that it is the very injustice of the law that generates the reasons not to violate it. (shrink)
The contributions of adolescent and parent perspectives to ethical planning of survey research on youth drug use and suicide behaviors are highlighted through an empirical examination of 322 7th-12th graders' and 160 parents' opinions on questions related to 4 ethical dimensions of survey research practice: evaluating research risks and benefits, establishing guardian permission requirements, developing confidentiality and disclosure policies, and using cash incentives for recruitment. Generational and ethnic variation in response to questionnaire items developed from discussions within adolescent and (...) parent focus groups are described. The article concludes with a discussion of the potential contributions and challenges of adolescent and parent perspectives for planning scientifically valid and ethically responsible youth risk survey research. (shrink)
"Before they were 'junkies,' they were kids." The words appear on a poster, beneath a montage of photographs of children and the text: "Save Insite." Insite, located in Vancouver, Canada, is North America's first and only supervised injection facility (SIF). At Insite, people who use injection drugs can inject previously obtained drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, under medical supervision, using sterile equipment provided by this government-run facility. Opened under the auspices of a three-year exemption from federal drug laws (...) in 2003, the site was initially the focus of a research study aiming to determine whether such a service would be effective in reducing the harms associated with injection drug use. After .. (shrink)
Aim Genetic research representative of the population is crucial to understanding the underlying causes of many diseases. In a prospective evaluation of informed consent we assessed the willingness of individuals of different ethnicities, gender and drug dependence history to participate in genetic studies in which their genetic sample could be shared with a repository at the National Institutes of Health. Methods Potential subjects were recruited from the general population through the use of flyers and referrals from previous participants and (...) clinicians with knowledge of our study. They could consent to 11 separate choices so that they could specify how and with whom their genetic sample could be shared. Rates of affirmative consent were then analysed by gender, ethnicity and drug dependence history. Results Of 1416 volunteers enrolled, 99.7% gave affirmative informed consent for studies of addiction conducted in our laboratory. No significant difference was found for participation in genetic studies conducted in our laboratory by gender, ethnicity or drug dependence history. Over all 11 questions, individuals with a history of drug use were more likely to agree to consent to participate in our study than were healthy volunteers. Conclusion A high percentage of each category of gender, ethnicity and drug history, gave affirmative consent at all levels. The level of detail in and the amount of time spent reviewing the informed consent, and a relationship of trust with the clinical investigator may contribute to this outcome. (shrink)
Seeking integration of drug consumption research by a theory of memory function and emphasizing drug consumption rather than addiction, Müller & Schumann (M&S) treat drug self-administration as part of a general pattern of consumption. This insight is located within a more comprehensive framework for understanding drug use as consumer behavior that explicates the reinforcement contingencies associated with modes of drug consumption.
Based on their framework, Müller & Schumann (M&S) propose a staged drug policy that matches well the neoliberal governance scheme. To mend the sad loss of the sociocultural dimension in their model, I propose three such considerations: first, sociocultural interactions with the brain; second, sociocultural context and justice of drug use; and third, sociocultural preparedness for implementing their drug policy.
The newly proposed framework for non-addictive psychoactive substances postulated by Müller & Schumann (M&S) provides an interesting and plausible explanation for non-addictive drug use. However, with specific reference to the relevant behavioral addiction literature, this commentary argues that the model may unexpectedly hold utility not only for non-addictive use of drugs, but also for non-addictive use of other potentially addictive behaviors.
The Müller & Schumann (M&S) view of drug use is courageous and compelling, with radical implications for drug policy and research. It implies that most nations prohibit most drugs that could promote happiness, social capital, and economic growth; that most individuals underuse rather than overuse drugs; and that behavioral scientists could use drugs more effectively in generating hypotheses and collaborating empathically.
The potential to instrumentalize drug use based upon the detection of very many different drug states undoubtedly exists, and such states may play a role in psychiatric and many other drug uses. Nevertheless, nonaddictive drug use is potentially more parsimoniously explained in terms of sensation seeking/impulsivity and drug expectations. Cultural factors also play a major role in nonaddictive drug use.
Illicit drug users are frequently identified as a ‘vulnerable population’ requiring ‘special protection’ and ‘additional safeguards’ in research. However, without specific guidance on how to enact these special protections and safeguards, research ethics committee (REC) members sometimes fall back on untested assumptions about the ethics of illicit drug use research. In light of growing calls for ‘evidence-based research ethics’, this commentary examines three common assumptions amongst REC members about what constitutes ethical research with drug users, and whether (...) such assumptions are borne out by a growing body of empirical data. The assumptions that form the focus of this commentary are as follows: (i) drug users do not have the capacity to provide informed consent to research; (ii) it is ethically problematic to provide financial incentives to drug users to participate in research; and (iii) asking drug users about their experiences ‘re-traumatizes’ and ‘re-victimizes’ them. (shrink)
The and models of psychoactive drug use predict opposite outcomes in terms of adaptive behavior and fitness benefits. Which is the range of applicability of each model? To answer this question, we need more data than those reported by studies focusing on medical, psychiatric, and legal problems in addicted users. An evolutionary analysis requires a much wider focus.
Governments across the globe have squandered treasure and imprisoned millions of their own citizens by criminalising the use and sale of recreational drugs. But use of these drugs has remained relatively constant, and the primary victims are the users themselves. Meanwhile, antimicrobial drugs that once had the power to cure infections are losing their ability to do so, compromising the health of people around the world. The thesis of this essay is that policymakers should stop wasting resources trying to (...) fight an unwinnable and morally dubious war against recreationaldrug users, and start shifting their attention to the serious threat posed by our collective misuse of antibiotics. (shrink)
Proposing a change to the view on psychoactive drug use in non-addicts touches a sensitive issue because of its potential implications to addiction prevention, therapeutic practice, and drug policy. Commentators raised nine questions that ranged from clarifications, suggested extensions of the model to supporting data previously not regarded, to assumptions on the implications of the model. Here, we take up the suggestions of the commentators to expand the model to behavioral addictions, discuss additional instrumentalization goals, and review the (...) evidence from laboratory animal studies on drug instrumentalization. We consider further the role of sociocultural factors and individual development in the establishment in drug instrumentalization and addiction. Finally, we clarify which implications we think this model may have. We conclude that drug instrumentalization theory can be further applied to other behaviors but will require a sensitive debate when used for drug and addiction policy that directly affects prevention and treatment. (shrink)
The body conceived of as a machinic assemblage becomes a body that is multiple. Its function or meaning no longer depends on an interior truth or identity, but on the particular assemblages it forms with other bodies. In this paper I draw on the work of Deleuze and Guattari to explore what happens to the drug using body when it is rethought as a machinic assemblage. Following an exploration of how the body of the drug user is put (...) together and stratified as a subject, and a careful manoeuvre through the bleak conception of the ‘drugged body’ provided by Deleuze and Guattari, I begin to map out some ethical alternatives. I argue that a body should, ultimately, be valued for what it can do , and that assemblages should be assessed in relation to their enabling, or blocking, of a body’s potential to become other. (shrink)
Few sports-related events have generated as much controversy as the steroid crisis in baseball. Both ardent fans and casual observers wonder why professional baseball players would choose to use such substances when their use was viewed as outside the bounds of fair play. This article attempts to answer that question by applying concepts from the area of organizational culture. Understanding the culture of baseball and the ways leaders embedded and strengthened that culture adds insight into the decisions by athletes to (...) engage in steroid use. In general, such use was consistent with the already-existing culture. In addition, key decisions and events likely created the conditions in which steroid use was more likely. (shrink)
Varcoe, Shane Until recently, there has been a largely unnoticed contingent of stakeholders who have not merely abandoned the ideal scenario of a drug free culture, but have quickly stepped through a phase of passive indifference, into what is a 'pro-drug' position in active pursuit of rights for individuals to be protected and supported in their consumption of currently illicit drugs. The players engaged in attempting to bring about this disturbing cultural shift are varied, but certainly these advocates (...) are 'spinning' data and even engaging noble platforms such as 'human rights' to speciously gain leverage. A key strategy in what is now a further 'push' down the slippery slope of dysfunction is the notion of normalisation. (shrink)
Pharmaceutical firms seek to fulfill their responsibilities to stakeholders by developing drugs that treat diseases. We evaluate the social and financial costs of developing new drugs relative to the realized benefits and find the industry falls short of its potential. This is primarily due to legislation-mandated reliance on animal test results in early stages of the drug development process, leading to a mere 10 percent success rate for new drugs entering human clinical trials. We cite hundreds of biomedical studies (...) from journals including Nature, Science, and the Journal of the American Medical Association to show animal modeling is ineffective, misleading to scientists, unable to prevent the development of dangerous drugs, and prone to prevent the development of useful drugs. Legislation still requires animal testing prior to human testing even though the pharmaceutical sector has better options that were unavailable when animal modeling was first mandated. We propose that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Congress should work together to abolish regulations and policies that require animal use. Doing so will benefit pharmaceutical industry stakeholders, including patients whose health depends on drugs and the many people who rely on the financial well-being of pharmaceutical firms. (shrink)
People have a love/hate relationship with rapidly changing healthcare technology. While consumer demand for medical apps continues to grow as rapidly as does supply, healthcare professionals and safety experts worry about the impact of these apps on the health consumer. In response to the rapidly growing mobile healthcare sector, the Food and Drug Administration has put forth guidelines to regulate ‘mobile medical apps’, those health-related apps that are designated as medical devices. In this article, I argue that this decision, (...) to only regulate apps that bill themselves as medical devices, will create a market for ‘off-label’ app use. Further, I will talk about the oft used analogy between off-label apps and off-label pharmaceuticals, showing that off-labeling apps will provide patients none of the benefits that come with a physician prescribing a drug off-label, while exposing the mobile healthcare consumer to significant risks that go significantly beyond those that we know of from prescription drugs. Recognizing that the Food and Drug Administration is not going to be able to significantly change its policies on oversight, I will suggest specific actions to at least mitigate some of the risks associated with off-label app use. (shrink)
The assessment of nanotechnology applications such as nanocarrier-based targeted drug delivery has historically been based mostly on toxicological and safety aspects. The use of nanocarriers for TDD, a leading-edge nanomedical application, has received little study from the angle of experts’ perceptions and acceptability, which may be reflected in how TDD applications are developed. In recent years, numerous authors have maintained that TDD assessment should also take into account impacts on ethical, environmental, economic, legal, and social issues in order to (...) lead to socially responsible innovation. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with French and Canadian researchers and research trainees with diverse disciplinary backgrounds and involved in research related to emerging technologies. The interviews focussed on scenarios presenting two types of TDD nanocarriers in two contexts of use. Content and inductive analyses of interviews showed how facets of perceived impacts such as health, environment, social cohabitation, economy, life and death, representations of the human being and nature, and technoscience were weighed in acceptability judgments. The analyses also revealed that contextual factors related to device, to use, and to user influenced the weighting assigned to perceived impacts and thus contributed to variability in interviewees’ judgments of acceptability. Giving consideration to researchers’ perspective could accompany first steps of implementation and development of nanomedicine by producing a first, but wide, picture of the acceptability of nanocarrier-based TDD. (shrink)
A strong moral reason for prohibiting doping in sport is to be found in the bad choices that would be faced by clean athletes in a sporting world that tolerated doping. The case against doping is not, however, to be grounded in the concept of coercion. Instead, it is grounded in a general duty of sport to afford fair opportunity to the goods that are distinctively within sport's sphere of control. The moral reason to prohibit doping need not be balanced (...) against any autonomy claim of athletes who would prefer to dope because, upon closer examination, such claims have no force. The moral reason to prohibit doping does, however, need to be balanced against the enforcement costs imposed on all athletes by effective prohibition. (shrink)
The making and taking of psychotropic drugs, whether on medical prescription or as self-medication, whether marketed by pharmaceutical companies or clamoured for by an anxious population, has been an integral part of the twentieth century. In this modern era of speed, uncertainty, pleasure and anguish the boundaries between healing and enhancing the mind by chemical means have been redefined. Long before Prozac would become a household name for an ‘emotional aspirin’ did consumers embrace the idea and practice of taking psychotropics (...) not only to treat mental illness but also to make them feel better about living in a modern world. The Freudian promise that each individual can remake him- or herself in the pursuit of health and happiness was helpful in promoting and legitimizing the idea and practice of seeking wellness on prescription. We will argue that the modern consumer-driven political culture of medicine will continue to transverse the boundaries of therapy and enhancement of the mind into the largely unexplored territories of human cognition and behaviour. However exciting, this endeavour will come at the cost of further widening the problem of iatrogenic addiction in the age of happiness pills as ‘botox’ for the mind. (shrink)