The Science of Addiction and Criminal Law

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Abstract

Although there is debate in the scientific and clinical literature about how much choice addicts have concerning the use of drugs and related activities, this article demonstrates that Anglo-American criminal law is most consistent with the position that addicts have substantial choice about engaging in crimes involving their addiction. It suggests that the criminal law’s approach is consistent with plausible and reasonable current scientific and clinical understanding of addiction and is therefore defensible, but it also suggests that the law is unduly harsh and far from optimum.

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