15 replies on “England thinks about vaccinating children against drug addiction”

  1. Hey, I like the idea. It makes a lot of sense. Frankly, Americans aren’t vaccinated against enough things. They don’t even do TB vaccinations here. They just test you for TB constantly to make sure you haven’t contracted it. why not vaccinate? It would make it a whole bunch easier.

  2. We don’t vaccinate for Tb because the current vaccine isn’t all that good.

    “There is no universally effective TB vaccine. The vaccine used in many countries for the past 70 or more years, BCG, is not an ideal vaccine as it has low or no efficacy in many parts of the world against pulmonary TB; induces granuloma, necrosis, and leaves a scar, and requires cold chain for delivery.” (from http://idri.org/page.php?pg_page_id=15)

    If a mature, consenting addict wants a vaccine for an existing addiction, sure. But forcing the vaccine on all kids? Too creepy.

  3. We require vaccines for infectious diseases because they can spread without people actively trying to contract the disease. Without vaccinations, there can (and have been) epidemics where people can’t much make a conscious decision to not to be infected. Vaccination protects not only the vaccinated, but also everybody around them who they therefore won’t infect.

    With drug addiction, on the other hand, people can only become addicted if they choose to use addictive drugs, and simple exposure to an addict does not put people at risk of addiction. Since there is no infectous factor, the vaccine cannot prevent addiction in anyone but the one vaccinated. That sort of protection should be a personal choice, not something required.

  4. One could argue that peer presure is infectious and that people on drugs can cause great harm to those around them. To me, this seems like a much better option that imprisoning tons of people, spending billions on drug prevention and enforcement, etc.

    Your argument centers on the fact that vaccinations for diseases protect those around the person from being infected and that people cannot choose not to become infected like they could choose not to do drugs. Well, first, if there is a vaccine, you can choose not to become infected by getting vaccinated yourself. More importantly, drugs do cause harm to those around the drug user and there’s no vaccination against a bullet like there is against measels.

    This drug vaccine would help both the original person and the society around them.

    The only good argument against them that I’ve heard so far is that if you take on this problem with a vaccination, where do you stop. I think it was Aaron that suggested that someone might come up with a vaccination against homosexuality.

    Of course, drugs are illegal and homosexuality isn’t. If there is no reason to vaccinate people against drugs, then there is no reason for drugs to be illegal.

  5. I think it was Aaron that suggested that someone might come up with a vaccination against homosexuality.

    That was me. We’ve gone down this road before. Haven’t we learned that using science to solve social and moral problems can only lead to bad results? Sean, you might want to read up on the eugenics movement.

  6. I think it was Aaron that suggested that someone might come up with a vaccination against homosexuality.

    Yes, that was Danny. I just suggested we try it out on you [Sean] first =]

    Before I begin the following, let me just say that I don’t think people should do drugs. I certainly won’t. I will also admit that a large portion of my dislike for an anti-drug vaccine is a gut feeling — a sort of sick feeling I get when I think about it, but I will try to explain what I mean.

    While preventing people from hurting themselves is, in many case, a good thing (i.e. enforcing seatbelts), more important is preventing people from hurting other people. This is currently done via gun control, vaccinations against communicable diseases, etc. (c.f. the famous “[your] right to swing your arm ends where my nose begins”). Sean – while it’s true that drug use may increase violent crime, we have stricter punishments on the crime itself for a reason. The taking of drugs is not what needs to be punished (well, it does, but one should not be punished solely for taking drugs when one has committed a murder because they were high/messed up).

    While that’s fine and dandy, there’s another issue, which, for lack of a better word I’ll call “the right to chose”. While illegal, drug use is de facto a person’s choice. It may be illegal, but I don’t think it’s too hard to get one’s hands upon some pot/heroin/crack/etc. Vaccination at an early age is not a person’s choice, and prevents them from making choices in the future. Yes, this sounds like an endorsement of legalization of drugs, but that’s not my intent. If a person is caught using drugs, they will go to jail – that’s their choice. By altering the psycho-physiology of a person, we aren’t just telling them which choice will prevent them from spending time in jail — we’re FORCING them to chose the “right” “choice” — in effect, we’re removing the choice. This can be likened to the age old question, “if g-d predetermines everything, then do we really have a choice?” If we remove the alternate option, there is no choice to be made.

    Where would it stop? People who get really angry are more likely to hit someone, so should we invent a vaccine to prevent anger? Teenagers are more likely to get in traffic accidents, so should we invent a vaccine to prevent teenagers? Living increases your chances of death. Let’s ban that, too.

  7. Is it really much different from the other ways that we don’t let people make wrong decisions? Should they remove the barrier they installed on the Mass Pike that seperates the right from the left side so that people have the option to drive on the wrong side of the road even if it is illegal? Should I post my password on the myBrandeis bulletin board so that anyone could log in as me even though by doing so they would be violating the law? Of course not. You erect barriers to breaking the law where you can. Should we not go after drug trafficers because it is the user’s choice to buy from them?

    This is just a different placement of the barrier. A placement that you (and I’m sure a lot of other people) aren’t quite comfortable with. For me, I feel why not? I don’t want to do drugs and this vaccine would do nothing but make my life better. This is where my progressive nature comes in. I look at this change and say “wow, this could solve a great social ill” while you seem to be more suspicious of it. It doesn’t mean that I’m right. It just means that I find this to be an exciting prospect. I also think it would be cool if only I had it and no one else knew about it because I could then drink anyone under the table (if they made it for alchohol as well).

    We often force people to choose right. I just think it is people’s comfortability with the way it is being forced in this case.

  8. The median on the MassPike is made alters your road. The proposed vaccine would alter you.

    There are levels to the barriers we create. It wouldn’t make sense to build a mile-high electric fence to separate the lanes of the MassPike (although it’d be pretty cool).

  9. That would be really cool. Yeah, I think that most people’s objections would be over the safety/side-effects of the vaccine. Would you object to it if it simply took the pleasure (the “high”) out of the drugs with no side-effects or problems? I’d definitely be cautious about this at first insofar as problems with it, but I think the concept is cool. It is actually a very benign barrier when you think about it (I’m comparing it to a police officer pointing a gun at me if I tried to buy drugs). Guns are scary! If the vaccine works as advertised, it would be very gentile.

  10. You know what’s more scary that cops with guns? Docs with vaccines that take away my freedom of choice.

    A physically beneign barrier? Perhaps. But the physical isn’t what I’m worried about.

    Plus, since when has a drug ever not had side effects and worked exactly as advertised? (That’s NOT saying that I’d approve it if it were sans problems).

  11. Do they not have libertarians anywhere anymore? Keep these laws off my body, is what I say.
    As to Sean’s comment: just because something might solve a great social ill doesn’t mean that you have the right to cram it down people’s throats.

  12. Sean, you might want to read up on alcohol prohibition (i.e. 1919-1933) too.

    drugs do cause harm to those around the drug user and there’s no vaccination against a bullet like there is against measels.

    Ever seen a bag of weed (or any illegal drug, for that matter) get up, grow arms, grab a gun, and shoot someone? Me neither.

    Drugs per se, and responsible use thereof, harm nobody but possibly the person using them (and, if so, it’s their own damn fault). If bullets are your worry, then what is needed is a reduction in violent crime, not one in drug use. Those people involved in trading illegal drugs are already performing illegal acts, and therefore have far less reason to follow those other laws that they would find beneficial to break. Breaking a tenth, or twentieth, or hundredth law is simply not as psychologically grave as breaking a first.

    Discounting these effects due to their illegal nature, responsible drug use affects nobody but the user. To prevent effects on others, there are plenty of possible laws setting limits on drug use short of prohibition, such as a ban on operating heavy machinery while affected by the drug. We already have examples of these laws in the regulation of alcohol; there’s no reason why they can’t be made to apply to other intoxicants.

    One of the reasons that there’s seatbelts in cars is to prevent other passengers from becoming flying objects and hurting others in accidents. The barriers are on the Mass Pike are there so that people don’t accidentally veer into oncoming traffic and harm other, faultless drivers. Posting your own password in a public place is highly harmful to you; certainly that should be a more important reason not to do so than its being illegal for others to use it. Those aren’t barriers against taking illegal actions; they’re barriers to harming public safety, constructed in a way that cannot be accomplished any better way.

    The best way to eliminate the crime associated with drug illegalization is to eliminate the root cause, in this case, illegality; not to go after some morally questionable means of supressing the symptom by fucking with the neurochemistry of people unable to consent to it.

    If people can make an informed decision that their addiction is harming them, or that they don’t want to run the risk of being addicted, or they want to be able to drink other people under the table, then good for them. The vaccine should be available to them, and the technological advance making it available is a good thing. Coersion is, however, the wrong way to go about putting this new technology to use.

  13. So should there be no prevention? Should we only enforce laws after people have caused great harm to society? Should someone not stop someone pointing a gun at me from shooting me? Or should they only punish the person after I’m dead?

    Personally, I’m a big fan of prevention and distaste punishment. I don’t want someone to have the ability to cause me harm. I don’t want someone to have the gun that can be used to kill me. Same for drugs. I don’t want people to use the drugs that can cause harm to society.

Comments are closed.