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PHIL 120W (9)
Sam Black (6)
Chapter

Drugs

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Department
Philosophy
Course
PHIL 120W
Professor
Sam Black
Semester
Fall

Description
Second PHIL Essay – Drugs 1 ESSAY QUESTION:  Consider costs/benefits (utilitarian considerations)  Liberty  Autonomy MY VIEW:  All drugs aren’t equal  Stats say that alcohol and tobacco are more harmful than others; it’s only because they are legal and accessible  Imagine what it would be like if hard drugs were legal. Much more deaths.  Marijuana is probably the “softest” illegal drug out. Legalize it. o Yes, it is hard on your lungs, probably less than cigarettes (carcinogens). But you don’t smoke 20 joints a day like with cigarettes. o Medicinal qualities o Holistic health o Benefits for cancer, crohn’s disease, etc o Anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, etc properties INTRODUCTION  Is there something morally wrong about pleasure obtained with drugs, or is pleasure valuable no matter what it comes from?  To what extent is government interference in free choices permissible?  Are soft drugs (i.e., alcohol or nicotine) equal with hard drugs (i.e., heroin or cocaine)? UTILITARIAN CONSIDERATIONS 1. Costs with current drug laws – prison, enforcement, etc 2. Profits for drug traffickers – equals ~$10-50 billion per year  violent crime! If it was legalized, it would free resources, reduce illegal drug crime, etc. Drugs legal = ↓ cost = ↑ use = ↓ health = ↑ non-drug crime WALTER BLOCK VS. JAMES Q. WILSON BLOCK: Drug use wouldn’t increase dramatically WILSON: Drug use would probably increase dramatically. However, this is uncertain so therefore we should keep our current drug laws. Second PHIL Essay – Drugs 2 CONSISTENCY Marijuana, tobacco, and alcohol are about the same. Heroin, cocaine, and other “hard” drugs (i.e., ecstasy or crack) are not the same as them. Although stats say alcohol and tobacco lead to greater deaths, it is only because they are readily available with widespread use.  It is impossible to think that heroin would ever be legalized. Too addictive, health effects, etc.  Marijuana is nearly equivalent to tobacco regarding the effects it has on health. The only difference is that it smells bad and makes you giddy beyond imagination. Substance Deaths Per Year Tobacco 320,000 Alcohol (direct and indirect use) 50,000 to 200,000 but it contributes to up to half of all violent crimes Illicit drugs 3562 WILSON VS. BLOCK Wilson: nicotine does not destroy the user’s essential humanity (affects habit) but cocaine alters  Nicotine isn’t psychoactive  Cocaine is Block: drugs are a ration economic value; they are an attempt to enhance welfare LIBERTY  Extent of personal autonomy, liberty, and circumstances under which it is appropriate for the government to restrict our choices  Regular use of drugs = unhealthy, unproductive, and involved with harmful behaviour  William Bennett: People using drugs may “behave in chilling and horrible ways” o Therefore we should seek to control behaviour that is directly harmful to others by legal means  Block: don’t use law to forbid risking our health or requiring us to be productive members of society o We should be free to choose how we live our lives, even if some people disapprove.  Wilson: rejects libertarian view of Block’s o “Society isn’t and could never be a collection of autonomous individuals” o We are all responsible in ensuring we display a minimal level of dignity, responsibility, and empathy.
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