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Drug Addiction: Disease Model and The Moral legal Model

Drug Addiction: Disease Model and The Moral legal Model

Moral legal model

These are models through which society views drug addiction.  The moral legal model is shared and believed by those who think drug use and addiction is a matter of personal decision and choice. Even after getting addicted, the users, according to this model, still have an option to opt out of the practice. The model acknowledges the fact that withdrawing from drug use may not be easy. That it takes a lot of process and commitment, sometimes the efforts of rehabilitation centers. It however believes the ultimate decision is for the drug addict to have a strong willpower to abandon the practice. The model thus suggests that individuals should be morally responsible for any acts that they commit under drug influences. This is because the drug users know their actions are wrong but they still go ahead and do them anyway. This therefore is the reason traditional and religious views condemn addictive behavior terming them as sinful. Most laws equally condemn drug use and hold accountable those who commit crimes in the pretext that they were under drug influence (Fieser, 2011). 

Disease model

The disease model contrasts with the legal moral model in a number of ways. They believe that addiction is similar to a mental disease such as Schizophrenia. That the biochemical changes in the brain have an effect that sometimes can last for a long time or permanently damage the user’s brain functionality.  That simple will power is just not enough for a drug user to stop and must be handled in the same way diseases are treated.  Whether genetically predisposed or addicted as a result of constant use the model suggests, the individuals be medically examined and treated. 

The differences in the manner in which drugs are classified and how we view drug use and addiction has led to controversies especially in drafting relevant laws to counter the increased drug use in many countries. Campaigns against drug use have not also been speaking with one voice. This, in the process, will slow down the fight against the vice (Fieser, 2011). 



Fieser, J. (2011). Moral Issues that Divide Us: Drug use and Applied Ethics, 7(3):5-8.

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