Drug Addiction: A Deadly Disease

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This paper examines the problem of drug addiction and substance abuse and examines contrasting viewpoints, ultimately deciding which is the best method to solve the problem and whether drug addiction should be considered a disease. 

The issue of drug addiction is a controversial subject, as many believe it cannot be considered a disease if a person willingly ingests an illegal substance. There are many ethical problems presented by this belief, however. Various factors influence drug addiction, including the fact that some are at a higher risk of becoming addicted and others have become addicted without ever willingly taking a drug (Klenka, 1986).

Utilitarianism would resolve the problem of drug addiction, as it advocates for the maximization of social welfare (Moreh, 1985). This would be beneficial when dealing with instances such as a baby being born addicted to a drug or other stimulant because his or her mother ingested it while pregnant. Followers of the utilitarian philosophy would likely be in support of rehabilitation facilities to provide assistance to addicts in recovery. 

In contrast, those who champion the philosophy of ethical egoism are less likely to support the fact that drug addiction as a disease. The basic idea of ethical egoism is that one should never sacrifice oneself for the benefit of others (Huemer, 2002). Strict followers of the philosophy believe the government should not subsidize drug rehabilitation facilities and those in need of help should be forced to deal with their problems on their own. 

Ultimately, utilitarianism is the best method of dealing with the problem of drug addiction. By providing addicts with an opportunity to recover, its benefits society as a whole, as it has been proven that drug users are more likely to commit crimes than nonusers (Hunt, 1990). Despite what some believe, drug addiction is a disease; in fact, it is a disease that costs society a significant amount of money. This is evidenced by the fact that the United Kingdom spends roughly £350 million per to provide treatment (Wong and Schumann, 2008). Society is greatly benefitted by making the necessary programs readily available. This allows for the addict to become healthy, because ultimately it will cost society more money in the long run if the they continue to abuse the drug, as opposed to seeking treatment through rehabilitative services. The problem of drug addiction should not be taken lightly, due to the fact that it provides a great strain on society and is a deadly disease. 


Huemer, Michael (2002). Is benevolent egoism coherent? The Journal of Ayn Rand Studies, 3, 259-288.

Hunt, Dana E. (1990). Drugs and consensual crimes: Drug dealing and prostitution. Crime and Justice, 13, 159-202.

Klenka, H. M. (1986). Babies born in a district general hospital to mothers taking heroin. British Medical Journal, 293, 745-746.

Moreh, J. (1986). Utilitarianism and the conflict of interests. The Journal of Conflict Resolution, 29, 137-159.

Wong, Chloe C. Y., & Schumann, Gunter (2008). Genetics of addictions: Strategies for addressing heterogeneity and polygenicity of substance use disorders. Philosophical Transactions: Biological Sciences, 363, 3213-3222.