End The War On Drugs - Chapter 5
EDITOR’S NOTE: A few years ago, I penned a first draft of a short book, “End The War On Drugs” I offer an updated version, in serial form, here on Substack, for my paid subscribers. I will publish a chapter each week.
There is no doubt that substance abusers impose a "cost" on society. At a minimum, even if they break no other laws, commit no crimes against others, and pay for their health care out of their own pockets, if their work performance is not as good as it would be if they were clean and dry, then the wealth they contribute to society is not as great. But, the term "cost" (the scare quotes are deliberate) itself is an issue.
Are we, as individuals, obligated to create wealth for others? Wouldn't that be a violation of the notion that we own ourselves and the fruits of our labor? Clearly. But, you might ask - what of the benefit we derive from living in a society of laws? What of the fact that being in a society enhances our ability to create wealth, by providing structure, protection, proximity to others, etc? This becomes a bit of a chicken-and-egg question, because society is essentially the aggregation of individuals, each pursuing his or her own happiness, and choosing to do so in conjunction with others because it's both more efficient and more pleasing. In other words, the benefits of society derive from us. Society is not an entity apart from its individuals, it is an aggregate of those individuals.