A Road Scholar Program by Peter Wenz
Drug use continues to impair the lives of many Americans. Yet some people, libertarians, claim that drug use is a fundamental right, arguing that the state should not restrict the behavior of competent adults for the purpose of improving their lives. If people want to ruin their lives with drugs they have as much a right to do so as to ruin their lives by eating too much food or marrying the wrong person. Others, social conservatives, argue that in light of the addictive nature of many drugs, people should be saved from themselves where drugs are concerned. Still others, including many pragmatists, consider the war on drugs a failure and, worse, the source of much corruption. Many claim, too, that some drugs, such as marijuana, are less addictive than some legal products, such as liquor and cigarettes, so it’s unfair to make them illegal. This presentation will examine the philosophical underpinnings of these contrasting stances on drug policy.