Monday, July 24, 2017

How Is Having The Right To Choose When You Want To Die...

...Any different from letting addicts dosing themselves to death?

I have to ask myself, at least, this question because it pertains to three things that I have come to believe in: The right to chose (where it is assumed that the choice is an unhindered, fully informed one) is a fundamental human right, but associated with that is the essential requirement that you be responsible for your choices. And associated with that is the need of the rest of us to minimize harm, for us, as a practical necessity resulting from the first two assertions.

It is essential, it seems to me, that a person be allowed to choose when they want to die. The instant you make that declaration, however, is to automatically stipulate that, whatever the reasons are, the rest of us can't sit in judgement on whether it fits some sort of test of sufficiency. And precisely because of that people are going to be choosing for the entire range of absolutely understandable, to absolutely inane, tragic, selfish, or whatever other negative term you care to apply here.

From the point of view of the State, trying to control this via the means of, on the one hand either criminality, or enforced psychotherapy, and/or the medical calling's singular control of the assumption that you must keep living, is a losing proposition in the long run, creating more problems, without really stopping much of the harm that the rest of us must suffer as collateral damage, anyway.

I want to be clear here, however. This is not the same thing at all as saying that the State has no responsibility to have whatever kind of therapy, and or recovery, or medicinal need, to be at hand for all all citizens. It absolutely must have these (or what is the point of a social contract in the first place?). Just as it must take great effort, at each step in a person's choice path to death, if that is indeed their path; that it be the most informed choice it can be (for both sides of the issue here; whereas the State can be as nosey as it wants to be when any person is supposedly asking to be allowed to die, because there can certainly be criminality in someone else interfering with, or somehow manipulating, the making of this choice).

This is why I have advocated for the idea of setting up a two tiered system of drug distribution. In the first tier a person could go to provided locations (nothing fancy, just private, clean, safe, and easy to clean) and be allowed to take all of the drugs that fall within the "Controlled Substances Act." No charge. The proviso, however, would be that the individual would not be allowed to leave until the effects of the drug wore off. And if the person kept taking new doses until they died than that would be their choice. The process, though, would be mandated, at each new dose, to inform the user, in detail, what the probable outcome was going to be, as well as asking pointed questions as to why they are doing this, and how help is there to address any of the issues thus uncovered.

In the end, however, it always boils down to an adaptation of an old adage: you can lead a person to a host of better paths, but you simply cannot make them take one; not in any way, at least, where they own that choice, and in so choosing do all they are capable of to make the best of the opportunity.

The other tier, in any case, would be some option combination (especially for drugs like pot) of either taking the dose at home, and not leaving (with a technological verification system), or going to a facility with better perks, for which restitution of some form would be given.

The right to choose. You either believe in it fully or you don't believe in it at all. That's my opinion. What do you think?


Why are so many doctors opposed to assisted death? As a practicing physician, I've witnessed both sides of this grueling debate.

No comments:

Post a Comment