Today I read the first half of Marc Lewis’ Memoirs of an Addicted Brain – a fascinating combination of a personal memoir of a drug-laden life and a scientific description of the neurochemistry of common psychologically active drugs. I have also been watching ‘Boardwalk Empire‘, which explores some other elements of the societal treatment of drugs.
It occurred to me that perhaps the world would be a better place if there was a licensing system for alcohol use akin to the system for driving. Instead of just gaining the right to drink at a set age, we could require people to take a class in high school and pass an exam. The license would be subject to temporary or permanent revocation in the event that a person was causing harm to others though alcohol use. For example, people convicted of driving drunk could have their alcohol licenses suspended or terminated.
It’s an idea that could theoretically be extended to other psychologically active drugs. By educating people, it would allow people to make more informed choices. The revocable licenses would also help maintain the balance between respecting the right that people have to make use of their own bodies with the obligation that people have to avoid harming others. It could also bring in a bit of much-needed state revenue.