Drug Addiction and Responsibility for the Health Care of Drug Addicts

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Taking care of those who are in need of health care is something that we, as a society, feel ourselves committed to insofar as public funds make that possible. Is this commitment in any way qualified by the fact that a person's medical maladies are the result of that person having voluntarily embarked on activities whose deleterious consequences for health were known and appreciated by that person beforehand? Specifically, is society's obligation to provide healthcare services to those who have addicted themselves to illicit drugs attenuated by the fact of that addiction? Some argue that it is, whereas others consider this position morally untenable. This essay explores the question of who is right on this matter and why.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-509+524-526
JournalSubstance Use and Misuse
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004


  • Choice
  • Fairness
  • Innocent victim
  • Justice
  • Responsibility
  • Sympathy
  • Voluntary assumption of risk
  • Voluntary victim

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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