HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Monday, December 14, 2020

Drug Policy and the Liberal Self

Andrew Koppelman (Northwestern University), Drug Policy and the Liberal Self, 100 NWU L. Rev. 279 (2006):

The philosophical literature on drug policy oscillates between crude utilitarianism and crude libertarianism. I argue for an analysis that recognizes the rights of the majority of drug users who are prudent and responsible, while also recognizing the appropriateness of even paternalistic intervention in the lives of those who have been or may be destroyed by an encounter with drugs. The best justification for drug regulation is the protection of the powers of adult citizens to freely govern themselves – powers that can be destroyed by drug abuse. Given this justification, much of contemporary policy is perverse, because it attacks those who are in no danger of the disintegration that the law fears.

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