Document Type



Neuroethics; Addiction; Addiction Treatment; Mental Illness; Drug Abuse

Publication Date

Spring 4-2015


Drug abuse has long fascinated philosophers and scientists. Many different models have attempted to elucidate the mechanism behind drug addiction and analyze whether an addict has a choice in his behavior. The problem with these models is that they seem to suggest only two ways of viewing addiction. These models suggest either that a person cannot control his addiction and is therefore deserving of treatment, or that suggest a person can control their addictions and is not deserving of treatment, and instead needs threats of punishment to stop their behavior. I believe these approaches are too simplistic and do not take into account that vast unknown that is the human brain. Additionally, they are both wholly impractical and out of sync even with the views of many addicts. Neuroethics can attest to the fact that telling a person they have no free will usually does not have a happy ending. If one cannot control one's own actions then why try? The same problem occurs with addiction.

Conversely, many addicts do feel out of control and scolding them as a parent would a poorly-behaved child will not yield satisfactory results. Addiction approaches need an overhaul, and with the quickly-expanding potential input of modern neuroscience and neuroethical approaches we can create a paradigm shift that will restructure the theory of addiction as well as the treatment of addicts.

Open Access


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


Poster presented at the Montréal Neuroethics Conference for Young Researchers on April 17th 2015.