November 20, 2023 at 7:53 am #186Jonathan BuhacoffKeymaster
Use and abuse of drugs is a liberty, not a right. Nobody has the right to take drugs, because that would create an obligation on someone else to provide them with drugs.
One perspective on drug use is that if a person should have full control over their own body, so if they obtain and want to take a drug they should be able to do that without fear of punishment, as long as they’re not harming anyone else, or neglecting or endangering their children.
Another perspective on drug use is that it needs to be regulated and controlled to prevent people from abusing them and that unauthorized drug use is a crime, because society has to pay the cost of taking care of people who abuse drugs in addition to the negative impacts on anyone who is affected by the substance abuse.
Applying the principles of maximizing individual freedom while balancing the rights of others, and minimizing the size of government without compromising its ability to achieve its purpose:
* a person should be free to use (and abuse) drugs because a person should have freedom to decide what to do with their own body, to the extent that this does not violate the rights of anyone else nor create obligations on anyone else
* the government may regulate pharmacists, chemists, apothecaries, and any other drug manufacturers to set safety rules on the manufacture and sale of drugs, such as limiting contaminants, properly labeling drugs with directions for use and dosage amounts, etc. including granting and revoking license to conduct this activity and taxing the sale of drugs and ingredients
* the government may regulate doctors, pharmacists, and drug dealers to set rules on what kind of drugs they may sell (for example, prohibiting poisons or substances with no known safe use) and who they may sell them to (for example, prohibiting sales to minors), including granting and revoking license to conduct this activity and taxing the sale of drugs
* because individuals are free to buy, but sellers may be regulated, people are free to report rule violations without fear of being criminalized themselves; this has a big advantage for helping the government discover misconduct, compared to systems where individual drug use is criminalized and individuals may fear speaking out against misconduct because of the potential personal consequences; it also has an advantage for any government agents attempting to expose misconduct because the act of buying is not criminal, so there is no ethical dilemma
* the government should enact a law that makes consequences for criminal or negligent action more severe if the perpetrator was under the influence of drugs (for example crashing a car due to driving intoxicated should have a higher penalty than crashing a car while alert and focused) to promote the safe use of drugs such as staying in place or having someone else take care of transportation, cooking, etc.
* the government should enact laws that allow judges to impose non-criminal consequences on drug abusers who have violated laws or regulations but not violated the rights of others; for example if someone was passed out on a public side walk while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, instead of putting the person in jail the judge could issue a reasonable fine to deter repeat offenses and mandate therapy to help the person recover from whatever is going on in their life that may have contributed to decisions or behavior leading to the offense
* the government should enact laws that regulate behavior in public spaces, such as prohibiting public intoxication; however these should be regulations and not criminal laws, so remedies may include (but are not limited to) fines, forceful relocation by police to another place, and mandated therapy, but would not include a criminal conviction; law enforcement may include a brief stay in a jail as a reset space for the person until they are sober and can face their consequences
* the government should educate citizens on drugs, safety, and related topics by making the information freely available and including essential learning courses on it available to children and adult students
* with the understanding that having large numbers of people abuse drugs and become unproductive or even disrupt the productivity of others is an undesirable situation, government should coordinate the action of people to address the causes of drug abuse and help people get out of that situation; a lot of the work may be done by charitable organizations and some of it may be government funded, but government’s primary role here would be to coordinate and facilitate interventions
All of the above are about individual drug use or abuse. If someone drugs someone else without their consent, that’s an assault which is a violation of their right to consent and a physical abuse which is a violation of their right to dignity. Therefore, such a criminal action is not in the same category as someone choosing to abuse drugs themselves, and should have significant criminal penalties.
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