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Drugs and Injustice
Date:11/28/2007

Societys attitudes toward different drugs and its ways of regulating them are often inconsistent, incoherent and ultimately unjust, says a new book by a team of University of Utah scholars.

The book says that to create a just drug policy, society must develop a consistent and coherent way of thinking about the entire gamut of drugs, from prescription and over-the-counter medicines to alternative and herbal remedies and supplements, sports-enhancing steroids, illegal recreational drugs, religious-use drugs such as peyote, and everyday fixes like alcohol, tobacco and caffeine.

We must make significant changes, not merely cosmetic prunings, in the way we treat drugs all drugs, says Drugs and Justice: Seeking a Consistent, Coherent, Comprehensive View, a book published Nov. 30 and written by a team of 11 philosophers, pharmaceutical scientists, lawyers, doctors and psychologists. This means scrapping many of the laws now on the books and starting over.

They write that making the needed changes in the way drugs are treated means resisting politically motivated enforcement and reform measures that have not been thought through with concern for their impact in all areas of drugs across the board.

The book decries the compartmentalization of drug policy and regulation, varying definitions of addiction and harm, the failure of drug experts in different fields to reach beyond their specialties, and says publisher Oxford University Press inconsistencies that derive more from cultural and social values than from medical or scientific facts.

Its the compartmentalization and the differing histories of regulation of different drugs that result in many of the apparent inconsistencies and injustices, says the books first author, bioethicist Margaret Battin, a distinguished professor of philosophy at the University of Utah. Its not that some drugs dont cause harm. Some cause serious harm or death. But the way in which we appr
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Contact: Lee Siegel
leesiegel@ucomm.utah.edu
801-581-8993
University of Utah
Source:Eurekalert

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