Permit or Prohibit: An enquiry into the morality of illegal drugs and into their legalisation and decriminalisation

Forsythe-Yorke, Wulfram (2015) Permit or Prohibit: An enquiry into the morality of illegal drugs and into their legalisation and decriminalisation. Masters thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The aims of this research project were firstly to examine the morality of taking psychoactive drugs for recreational purposes and secondly to explore the case for and against legalisation and decriminalisation.
The thesis begins with a description of these drugs: what they are, how they work, their usage, addiction, harm and death rates. A brief account follows of their historical background, and how the policy of prohibition came to be implemented.
Next the morality of illegal drug use is explored. For this the methodological approach of ethical analysis of the normative philosophies is used, namely relativism, Kant’s deontology, consequentialism and virtue ethics. Included here was an assessment of the views of the public on the matter.
Research of documentary evidence showed that some European countries had better drug policy outcomes than most. These countries were Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and the Czech Republic and further methodological research revealed the reasons for these good outcomes. These procedures are described and analysed.
The outcome of the research led to the conclusion that it is morally acceptable to use such drugs, up to a point. Moral obligations are incurred not only by the user, but also by their neighbour and by the State.
The question why some countries had good drug policy outcomes was because all had developed a measure of legalisation and decriminalisation, covertly rather than openly, for the official international drug policy is still prohibition. Furthermore they had understood the existence of risk and the need for harm reduction and had undertaken measures to deal with them.
The final part of the project is to undertake as synthesis of these countries’ best practice and formulate a future model drug policy for the United Kingdom.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > Norwich Medical School
Depositing User: Stacey Armes
Date Deposited: 07 Jun 2016 15:59
Last Modified: 07 Jun 2016 15:59


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