For several hundred years, conceptions of tobacco, alcohol, and drug dependence have been based on incongruent beliefs involving moral judgments and medical considerations. To this day, neither set of beliefs has supplanted the other. As a result, in the general population there is much disagreement and confusion about the nature of addiction and how to best address problems involving substance abuse. These conflicting views are at the center of the ongoing debate about public policies on tobacco, alcohol, and other drug abuse prevention and treatment. The moral model can be considered the philosophical foundation of much of the U.S. federal drug control policy and the so-called War on Drugs.

Features of the Model

In the moral model, addiction represents a refusal to abide by some ethical ...

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