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Warren Whitfield

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Is it right to profit from addiction? Is it right to profit from harm?

Is it right to profit from the sale of addictive products and services, specifically, from the portion of consumers who are addicted i.e. cannot control their consumption? Whilst morality is a subjective issue, the harm that is caused by this practice is measurable. Therefore is it right to profit from causing harm?


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  • Sep 24 2012: Absolutely not. While this question is applicable to tobacco and alcohol corporate giants, I think we should not overlook street pharmacists. I am from North County St Louis and my city faces a heroine epidemic. A neighbor 10 houses down whom I've known for several years overdosed on heroine a week ago; almost ending his life. Had he not gotten the immediate treatment he needed he would have been another number on the list of drug related fatalities. This is a double sided coin because the dealers themselves typically run their business to support an addiction of their own. So not only are they profiting on the degradation of the health of others they are in turn using it to self destruct themselves. There were roughly 80-100 heroine related deaths in St Louis in 2011 and while that number has gone down in the first six recorded months of 2012, the problem persists. However it goes deeper than the deaths of these unfortunate victims. Dealers are not just profiting from the addiction of abusers, they are taking something far greater than the money that is attained at any cost. They take a part of their soul. Heroine consumes their life - it is a never ending cycle of waiting. Waiting for the drug to arrive, waiting for the intravenous dose to take effect, waiting for the pain and withdraw to subside only to come back with more force and hunger. I know good people that have recovered from this pain and maintain a pure lifestyle. It can be done. But still it hurts me to know that drug money soaked in pain, desperation and addiction is being used to buy food, prepaid phone minutes, cigarettes and more narcotics to feed the vicious cycle.

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