The Instigator
MasturDeBator2009
Pro (for)
Winning
21 Points
The Contender
Nails
Con (against)
Losing
19 Points

The Terminally Ill Should Be Allowed Access to Any Drugs They Want

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/7/2010 Category: Politics
Updated: 7 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 5,139 times Debate No: 10736
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (7)
Votes (8)

 

MasturDeBator2009

Pro

My Position:

A person diagnosed with a terminal illness as determined by medical professionals should be allowed to have any drug they want for any reason, including euthanasia or recreation. Since they are at the end of their life additional pain and suffering is unnecessary and if a person knows the rest of their life will be pain there is no point in forcing them continue through it. Other terminally ill people might want to take drugs to alleviate pain and might find available prescriptions inadequate. Still others might want to experience certain substances recreationally before dying. Since they are already about to die death and addiction to the patient are not compelling reasons to stop them. In this case for some drugs regulations could be in place to allow only in a medical setting such as a hospital or hospice to prevent sharing or prevent the patient from harming others. Most importantly some patients deemed terminally ill might want to try experimental treatments in order to have a shot at life.

Clarification:
-This debate concerns whether the patient should be allowed access, not whether this access should be covered by private insurance or the government up to a certain point.
Nails

Con

First is the issue of recreational drug use. I see no problem with the terminally ill making the most of the time they have left, so long as they don't hurt others in doing so. Unfortunately, drugs do hurt others. They have incredible social and economic costs, including drug related violence and death, incarceration, productivity losses, and healthcare costs. In total, the economic cost of drug use in America alone is about $200 billion anually.[1]

Second is the issue of euthanasia. This has two major problems. The first is that simply offering the possibility of Euthanasia has empirically turned into an implied 'duty to die' on the elderly, often to save their families, or the hospital, money.[2] The second is that doctors have empirically abused euthanasia. About 1/3 of assisted suicides in the Netherlands (the only country to have a majorly pro-euthanasia policy) were performed without the patients' expressed consent,[2] often because the doctor felt that the patient was suffering. A lesser problem is that only 40% of all cases of euthanasia cases are reported to the government, making it hard to monitor.[2]

Third is the issue of theft. Those who are terminally ill are not entitled to the drugs of others. Imminent death does not excuse theft.

Despite my opponent's debating skill, he still hasn't convinced me that the ill should take any more than a chill pill. Until round 2, Good luck.

[1] http://www.ncjrs.gov...
[2] http://www.discovery.org...
Debate Round No. 1
MasturDeBator2009

Pro

Thank you for accepting my challenge.

My opponent brings up valid points, but all these problems can be solved with proper regulation.

For drug-related harm, many harms wouldn't apply to the case of the terminally ill. The person is already dying, if it's legal there's no incarceration, and for productivity terminally ill people often can't work or choose not to anyways, because they don't want to spend the end of life working.

Violence is a preventable risk. Drugs could be limited to in-patient use. Security training, hiring security, and using door locks and restraints could be used. To lower the risk any number of regulations can be used while still allowing the drugs. If a drug has a higher risk of violence or makes the patient harder to control it could be limited to a securer room.

As for medical costs these can be limited by making the patient pay for the drugs, and security services.

As for euthanasia, my opponent brings up nonconsentual euthanasia. The debate is over whether "The Terminally Ill Should Be Allowed Access to Any Drugs They Want". Letting the terminally ill use any drug they want doesn't mean we must let doctors euthanize patients nonconsentually.

As for underreporting we can require reports. This would make all drug administrations easy to monitor to make sure they are following regulations. Records could be reviewed to look for violations. Unreported cases might still happen, but unreported administration of drugs to patients for any purpose would be just as illegal as it already is. Letting the terminally ill have drugs they want in a regulated system would lower unreported cases since if the patient requests it the doctor has no reason not to follow regulations but with it completely illegal a doctor would have to keep it a secret.
As for an implied "duty to die" since drugs are only given to the terminally ill even if someone felt pressure from family to die to save money they'd need to be near death already to get euthanasia. And most families wouldn't tell the person to choose euthanasia to save money. There are probably some, but common sense is that more would be urging their loved ones to go on some even afraid that if they choose euthanasia they will receive eternal damnation. It's more likely for a patient to be pressured to live than die. Even if pressured from family they're not likely to concede. Putting money first shows a lack of love which would likely get the patient to respond with defiance. If a patient chooses euthanasia because they believe they have a "duty to die" its because of their own personal beliefs, not pressure. But a patient might be pressured with a "duty to live". Since pressure not to euthanize doesn't show a lack of love patients who'd otherwise euthanize might choose not to if their family is against it, especially if they fear they'd have eternal torment. The possibility of some patients feeling a "duty to live" isn't a reason to make euthanasia mandatory so the possibility of some patients feeling a "duty to die" isn't a reason to have euthanasia illegal.

Besides to force patients in excruciating pain to suffer because others might feeling pressured to choose euthanasia if allowed wouldn't be fair. Even with pressured they still have a choice. It's their responsibility to say no, not the state's responsibility.

As for theft, I'm not promoting theft. "Access to any drugs" doesn't mean any person's drugs, just any type of drug. If I was advising to let terminally ill steal drugs the clarification in Round 1 would be irrelevant.
Most importantly letting the terminally ill have drugs they want could lead to scientific breakthroughs and save lives. A patient might try something and find a new treatment or cure. But we can't just allow drug use for experimental treatment. If a patient is prevented from taking drugs for other reasons it creates red tape that would stop some honest patients from receiving drugs as an experimental treatment.
Nails

Con

Unfortunately, my opponent has responded to only what he wants to respond to and ignored the most important arguments.

================
=Recreational Drug Use=
================

My opponent mishandled possibly the most important issue with drug use by the terminally ill: healthcare costs.
My opponent says that the terminally ill won't work or be productive, leaving all healthcare costs on their family or the government. Hospitals shouldn't have to deal with the severe medical complications that might come from Grandma Lu using LSD.

All he said on the subject was, "As for medical costs these can be limited by making the patient pay for the drugs, and security services."

As referenced above, the terminally ill won't be working, so PRO is just letting them get high at their families' expense.

=========
=Euthanasia=
=========

"Letting the terminally ill use any drug they want doesn't mean we let doctors euthanize patients nonconsentually."

I don't think my opponent understands what I'm saying here. The Netherlands doesn't allow doctors to give patients any drugs that would put them out of their misery without their expressed consent. This hasn't stopped 1/3 of assisted suicides in the Netherlands from being performed without expressed consent. Simply saying 'we just won't allow that' hasn't worked in the past, so I see no reason to assume it will work in the future.

"As for underreporting we can require reports."

Doctors are simply going to report, "I just killed someone without his consent?" Again, making something a law doesn't guarantee it's going to happen.

"some even afraid that if they choose euthanasia they will receive eternal damnation. It's more likely for a patient to be pressured to live than die."

I can't say that I agree that the threat of eternal damnation is going to check back this problem. Most importantly, this is only a mitigation of the problem. In a society without Euthanasia, there is never a duty to die because there isn't an option to die. In a society with Euthanasia, there is still a duty to die on many, if not all.

"The possibility of some patients feeling a "duty to live" isn't a reason to make euthanasia mandatory so the possibility of some patients feeling a "duty to die" isn't a reason to have euthanasia illegal."

What? This is complete gibberish.

Most people want to live, so we shouldn't force all old people to die. OK?
How does this mean that we should allow people who are pressured to die succumb to that pressure?
There is absolutely no logical link between the two.

=========
=Drug Theft=
=========

"'Access to any drugs' doesn't mean any person's drugs, just any type of drug."

Yes it does. 'Any drugs' includes my drugs. It includes your drugs. It includes any drugs. PRO is allowing old, dying people to steal your medication so that they can get high or kill themselves on it! That's horrible.

==============
=Human Guinea Pigs=
==============

There is absolutely no need to test drugs on humans. Rats work effectively and are very cheap. Better yet, monkeys are almost identical to humans.[1] My cousin, aunt, and uncle all work in Louisiana at a major test center for pharmeceutical drugs. The center owns thousands of monkeys on which they do the final testing prior to human use. There is no reason to use humans as guinea pigs for new drugs, when we have much more humane options for testing them.

[1] http://www.wired.com...
Debate Round No. 2
MasturDeBator2009

Pro

"My…government."

This is ridiculous. People don't lose all money once they quit their job. Most terminally ill people don't work because of health reasons or to enjoy the time left. Since most would've worked before the illness most would have money saved. Some might not, but I never suggested forcing anybody to pay for it. Read the clarification in Round 1. My resolution doesn't require forcing anybody to pay for this.

"Hospitals…LSD."

What severe complications is Con worried about? Death? The patient is already dying. Getting scared? If that's bad enough we should ban horror movies. Plus, what ever the staff deals with can be covered by the patient's fees. In fact the hospital could make money from this and could spend it to improve services for everyone.

"I…future."

Con is suggesting we keep voluntary active euthanasia(VAE) illegal to stop involuntary euthanasia. That's like banning sex to stop rape. Whether VAE is legal or not involuntary euthanasia is just as illegal so banning VAE won't do anything to stop involuntary euthanasia.

"I…problem."

Con's missing the point that pressure to live is more likely than pressure to die for the reasons I've stated. Con is underestimating the strength of familial bonds if Con thinks families are likely to pressure people to die. And pressure to die is likely to be taken as hateful or insulting and so is likely to be ignored or even lead someone to choose life. Pressure to die would have barely any impact on people choosing VAE.

Besides, pressure isn't a good reason to ban anything. We all face pressure in life. People are pressured to do legal things all the time, some deadly like smoking. These can lead to people losing decades off their lives compared to a few months or a year for a terminally ill person who chooses euthanasia. Either way pressure isn't force. The individual is still responsible for their choice.

"In…all."

Death is an option. According to "Cruzan", passive euthanasia(VPE) i.e. refusing treatment is a constitutional right if you're an adult of sound mind[1]. If a family was going to pressure with VAE legal they'd already pressure for VPE. But this is a slow, painful death. Unless VAE's allowed the patient's forced between a long suffering or a short more intense suffering before death and denied a quick, painless death.

"Yes…horrible."

Con is playing with words. "Any" doesn't always mean "any individual item". It often means "any type". For example, in an ice cream shop a mom might tell her kid he can have any ice cream he wants. She clearly doesn't mean he can just take from someone, she means he can choose from the types that are being sold.

"There…them."

Apparently Con thinks it is humane to condemn a person to death instead of letting them test potential cures. The Hippocratic Oath is "do no harm". There are few harms worse than death. If a person has a small chance of survival by trying an unproved method but a 100% chance of death if nothing is done is forced to forgo treatment they are being forced to die. "Forced death" is not doing "no harm".

Furthermore, Con's characterization of "human guinea pigs" is erroneous. I'm talking about self-directed experimentation, not because a company looks for them. Regulation can stop exploitation. Letting any terminal patient have any drug they want doesn't mean it must be allowed as part of a study. In fact since studies need control groups and I propose allowing them any drug, making them accept the risk of getting a placebo would go against the resolution. The experimenting would be individual and would only give researchers anecdotal evidence if it worked. This could lead to breakthroughs if they followed up on the it and started proper animal and then human studies. This type of "experimentation" would be individual and motivated by individual research, not companies trying to make a buck.

[1]http://www.law.umkc.edu...
Nails

Con

I am sorry. I will be out of town for the entirety of this long weekend, and won't have time to post an argument this round. I should be able to participate in rounds 4 & 5 of this debate, still.
Debate Round No. 3
MasturDeBator2009

Pro

Some regulations that could be put in place to protect terminal patients from exploitation while still allowing them to experiment in an attempt at finding a cure:
-Companies can be forbidden from advertising potential cures to terminally ill patients except as part of an approved human study (a proper study with controls that has been followed up after animal studies).
-Sending E-mails and other mail promising cures could be considered a form of harassment.
However, the patient or friends or family could still do their own research online or in libraries to look through scientific evidence and try to find something that might work, and then decide they want the treatment. If they have the money either saved themselves or from family, friends, or charity that volunteers to donate then they could get the treatment. By allowing the terminally ill any drug they want for any reason the individual's ability to seek out potential cures and potentially save their life is unimpeded.
To do otherwise is to condemn the patient to certain death. Even restrictions such as making sure the patient isn't asking for the drugs for recreation or euthanasia would unfairly prevent patients from taking a last chance at saving their lives, because it would require them to go through a lot of time-consuming red tape. Considering they don't have much time left and that an honest patient who only wants to try to save their life might be mistaken as trying to get euthanasia or as a recreational user the only way to make sure terminal patients can try potential cures and potentially save their lives is to allow them to take drugs for euthanasia or recreational purposes as well.
In any case as a bonus this can be used to make money for the hospital. Taking drugs that have security risks in addition to health risks could cost even more money for the patient. Just like with all things the price would cover not just the operating costs but would above that. This is true even if the hospital is non-profit since it would want money to expand services. Overall this means that allowing terminal patients to take the drugs they want will improve healthcare services for the other patients.
As a last point I'll point out an inconsistency in Con's reasoning. Con is against euthanasia, that is against people dying because they choose to, yet Con is against allowing terminal patients to try experimental drugs as an attempt to save their lives. So Con is approving of people being forced to die for sure rather than take a chance at living but is against people dying out of choice. I think most people would agree that morally it's far worse to force someone to die than it is to simply give them the option.
Nails

Con

"Since most would've worked before the illness most would have money saved. Some might not, but I never suggested forcing anybody to pay for it."

Again, my opponent has mishandled the argument. Healthcare costs =/= drug costs. They can afford the drugs themselves, but that doesn't mean they can cover all of the added health-related issues involved.

"What severe complications is Con worried about? Death? The patient is already dying."

That doesn't mean there are no costs. Quite the opposite. "77% of the Medicare decedents' expenditures occurred in the last year of life, 52% of them in the last 2 mo, and 40% in the last month."[1]

"That's like banning sex to stop rape."

Suppose that 1/3 of the time that doctors had sex with their patients that it was rape. That would be a pretty convincing reason to ban sex. I fail to see how this example proves his point and not mine.

"Con's missing the point that pressure to live is more likely than pressure to die for the reasons I've stated. Con is underestimating the strength of familial bonds if Con thinks families are likely to pressure people to die."

1.) I'd like my opponent to find some source, any source, talking about deaths decreasing from some 'duty to live' and then compare it to any simple Google search along the lines of "Euthanasia duty to die."[2] Any scholarly source on Euthanasia that you can find disagrees with this fantastic assertion of people having a 'duty to live.'

2.) Again, this is only a mitigation. ANY deaths caused by a duty to die are more than what happens when Euthanasia is illegal. Regardless how my opponent tries to make the impacts sound small (and do some reading on the subject, such as the Netherlands, you'll find they aren't) the fact of the matter is that there are still negative consequences that ensue that wouldn't happen otherwise. PRO conveniently missed this point again.

"According to "Cruzan", passive euthanasia(VPE) i.e. refusing treatment is a constitutional right if you're an adult of sound mind[1]."

My opponent's source is correct[3] in that Missouri, in 1990, allowed VPE. This means... nothing? Since then, Euthanasia has been made illegal in Missouri, as well as almost every other state.[4]

"For example, in an ice cream shop a mom might tell her kid he can have any ice cream he wants."

Then he should get any ice cream he wants; his mother misspoke. What you would actually hear is "Yes, honey, you can have any flavor of ice cream you want," or "Choose whichever type of ice cream is your favorite."

I'll drop the point on experimental drugs.
[1] http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org...
[2] http://www.google.com...=
[3] http://www.law.umkc.edu...
[4] http://www.nightingalealliance.org...
Debate Round No. 4
MasturDeBator2009

Pro

"Again…involved."

The price to use could be set high enough to cover the costs. The extra money could be used to improve health care. Giving patients more options to spend money at the hospital, including this option leads to an improvement in services for everybody as the hospital has more money.

We could go further. We could exclude any recreational drug-related healthcare costs from Medicare or other government programs and make patients pay in advance.

"Suppose…mine."

No it's not convincing. If a person isn't deterred by laws against rape when sex is legal they won't be deterred by laws against having sex in the first place. They're already willing to break the law, one against something worse than what you're banning to deter them from breaking the law. Likewise it makes no sense if a person isn't going to be deterred by laws against forced euthanasia that they would be deterred by laws against all euthanasia.

Also measures like cameras in hospitals which can be paid for by raising the cost of euthanasia drugs for every patient who gets one could prevent doctors from getting away with nonconsentual euthanasia.

"My…state."

"Voluntary passive euthanasia" is a term rarely used. Websites referring to euthanasia laws such as the one listed by my opponent most likely did not include "VPE" in their definition of "euthanasia".

Even if state law bans VPE federal law trumps it. Under the Patient Self-Determination Act, a patient has the right to refuse treatment for any reason[1]. Not only can a person refuse medical treatment they can make living wills to order medical treatment stop in some cases and/or give the decision to another if they're incapacitated.
There are 2 options: 1. Drug-induced euthanasia is illegal and a patient who wants to die must refuse treatment and die a slow, painful death or 2. Drug-induced euthanasia is legalized so the patient can die a quick, painless death.

Fear about pressure to die is a red herring. A patient can get pressure now by being pressured to end treatment. Con also ignored my point about how "pressure" doesn't take away choice. We're pressured to do things all the time. People who want to die sooner to avoid suffering shouldn't be made to live, just because others might face "pressure" to die. They still had a choice. Learning to say "no" to things you disagree with is a part of life. Even if some patients choose death because they think it's their duty that's still their opinion and their choice and should be respected.

"Then…misspoke."

Con just won't give up playing with words in order to redefine the debate. We all know "any" can be used in the way I used it to mean "any kind". The mother in my example isn't making a mistake. Many people speak like this. Since language is a social construct used to communicate, the way many people speak is evidence for the correct use of language.

Con keeps ignoring the clarification at the beginning. I made it because some people might mistake "access" as "free access" and I wanted to make the point that I'm only arguing they be allowed it if they can afford it not arguing for or against them receiving this with help from others(government/private insurance). The clarification would have been pointless if they could steal it.

Finally, even if drug use in an attempt to find a cure is legal stopping access to drugs for other purposes for the terminally ill would limit the ability for those honestly looking for a cure to do so. Each case would be examined to make sure they're not getting high or killing themselves. Red tape could cost the life of someone who otherwise would've found a way to cure themselves. The only way to remove red tape is allowing it for any purpose.

I have thoroughly proven why this policy should be in place and Con has failed to adequately support any compelling reasons against it.

Vote Pro!

[1]http://www.legalhelpmate.com...
Nails

Con

=======================
=The Terminally Ill Smoking Weed=
=======================

"The price to... pay in advance."

So we raise drugs to absurdly high prices so that only the richest and stupidest patients can afford to use them, then spend all of the money on the ensuing medical complications, perfectly regulate this system and make incredible profits off of it?

Pardon my skepticism, but my opponent's string of unwarranted assertions here needs a bit more proof of solvency than he has given (none.)

=========
=Euthanasia=
=========

"No it's not... with nonconsentual euthanasia."

Well, despite the fact that my opponent clearly knows the every will and desire of doctors, and despite the fact that euthanasia is clearly an exact parallel to sexual intercourse, I can't understand why PRO can't possibly find any empirical evidence to back this up!

In the Netherlands, where euthanasia is legal, death rates from nonconsentual euthanasia (which is illegal) are incredibly high. According to my opponent, we would be seeing 10s of thousands of deaths annually in the United States (since making euthanasia illegal does nothing to stop active euthanasia) yet we don't. PRO has multiple times asserted this unwarranted claim, yet can't find any evidence to prove it.

"Voluntary passive euthanasia is a term rarely used. Websites referring to euthanasia laws such as the one listed by my opponent most likely did not include "VPE" in their definition of "euthanasia". Even if state law bans VPE federal law trumps it. Under the Patient Self-Determination Act, a patient has the right to refuse treatment for any reason."

Um, that's fine and dandy... so what? This resolution has absolutely nothing to do with refusing treatment; it is not "The terminally ill should be allowed to deny access to any drug they want,"; it is not about voluntary passive euthanasia whatsoever.

The resolution explicitly proposes that doctors actively give patients drugs that may used to commit suicide. That is an action, and this is voluntary ACTIVE euthanasia.

=========
=Duty to Die=
=========

My opponent hasn't addressed the key issue involved here. I'll simply restate it:

"Again, this is only a mitigation. ANY deaths caused by a duty to die are more than what happens when Euthanasia is illegal. Regardless how my opponent tries to make the impacts sound small (and do some reading on the subject, such as the Netherlands, you'll find they aren't) the fact of the matter is that there are still negative consequences that ensue that wouldn't happen otherwise. PRO conveniently missed this point again."

PRO, throughout this debate, has left this argument untouched.

=====================
=Old People Stealing MY Drugs=
=====================

"We all know 'any' can be used in the way I used it to mean 'any kind'."

Believe it or not, words have multiple meanings (try to find any common word with only one definition in your average online dictionary.) Because of this, any old grandma who wants my Tylenol could easily use such a law as 'The terminally ill should be allowed to access any drug they want' to legally deprive me of my medication.

"Since language is a social construct used to communicate, the way many people speak is evidence for the correct use of language."

Correct. Unfortunately for me, my opponent has done a bang-up job proving that most people interpret the word 'any' in the exact same way that he does. Actually... he hasn't. He's left it up to you to do this work for him. Don't. It's his job to prove that.

In fact, I'll direct you to the comments section where the only 2 posts on this debate (at the time of my writing this) have interpreted the resolution in a way that would condone the theft of drugs. This is in direct contradiction to my opponent's un-evidenced claim.

My opponent likes to kill babies, so vote CON. There's also the issue of his making no valid arguments, and not addressing mine...
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by infam0us 7 years ago
infam0us
WHAT? theLwerd vote bombed.
Posted by infam0us 7 years ago
infam0us
couldn't decide on a winner so i gave each of you a point. good debate, a more specific resolution would've allowed for a winner to emerge more clearly. as it stands, i personally think pro made more convincing arguments but con held his own effectively.
Posted by Nails 7 years ago
Nails
That completely changes the resolution.
Posted by MasturDeBator2009 7 years ago
MasturDeBator2009
Know the debate's over but would like to point out I didn't mean anywhere they want just any drugs they want so regulations that don't prevent the patient from using the drug, just specify where would fit.
Posted by RoyLatham 7 years ago
RoyLatham
Pro's opening statement made it clear that theft of drugs or getting them free was not to be allowed. That argument goes to Pro.

It was only necessary for Con to find one general circumstance where drugs ought to be denied. The one I found compelling was euthanasia with consent but under social pressure. Once Pro concedes that are valid circumstances that need to solved by regulation, that eliminates getting any drug solely because the person wants it, which in turn effectively concedes the debate. I think Pro could have won with a more careful wording of the resolution, like maybe "Access to drugs for the terminally ill should be greatly expanded."
Posted by Ore_Ele 7 years ago
Ore_Ele
Didn't anyone ever teach you to share?
Posted by Puck 7 years ago
Puck
What if they are my drugs though? :P
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