Mind Drugs 

(CP) Most often, the justification relied on banning drugs is that they can lead to addiction and abuse. In this way, mind drugs would seemingly be subject to exactly that: if you can be happy all the time, always in perfect love, change your personality, etc... with just popping a pill, it would easy to see how abuse and addiction would result. How would you justify it to a legislature to adopt a statute legalizing the drugs (or court to overturn a statute in place banning drugs)?

(DF) It may be illegal for a man to have sex with a woman who is drunk even if she voluntarily chose to get drunk, on the theory that once under the influence she is incapable of giving consent. How would similar issues be dealt with for other sorts of drugs? Suppose we have a drug that makes someone fall in love? What about a real aphrodisiac? Someone under such a drug may be able to think clearly, unlike someone who is drunk, but the thinking will be within the context established by the drug.

(DF) Perfumes claim to make the wearer more attractive to the opposite sex. What if we develop improved versions that actually work, and work well. What legal restrictions, if any, might be imposed on their use? Is this any different from a man who makes himself attractive by driving a Porsche or a woman who dresses well and uses makeup?

Pleasure Drugs

(LY): If the happy drug or machine is really invented, will this be legalized?  This will be very similar to drugs, just without the side effects, but one can always argue the side effect is being addicted to happiness.

Performance Enhancing Drugs

(PYS) Employers are liable for actions of employees taken on behalf of the employer.  However, If employers are allowed to use mind drugs in order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of employees, would the employers also be liable for action of the employee outside of work hours since the employee is still under the influence the mind drugs.

(LY): If steroid is legalized, every athlete is on steroid, then wouldn't that be fair to all athletes? Since we test people for steroids for athletic competition, shouldn't we have tests for steroids and drugs for bar exams and everything else?

(PH) Some parents will be eager to give their children drugs that increase intelligence.  Presumably, mind drugs that reliably increase intelligence would be expensive, at least initially.  Thus, it is likely that schools located in wealthier areas, where parents can afford the drugs, will have higher test scores.  How might an education system that bases allocation of funds at least partially on test scores accommodate this type of disparity?              

(PH) Is it possible widespread use of mind drugs will stunt evolution of the human mind?  Is rapid expansion of mental capacity through mind drugs preferable to organic expansion of human capacity through evolution?
(DE) Most people submit to drug testing only when they are required to. But, what if the use of performance enhancing drugs like Adderall become more widespread for standardized testing, so that schools and employers stop having full confidence in the results.  Could, or should, the government or a third party offer voluntary testing?  That is, imagine you can submit to voluntary drug testing on the test day, and your results could then be verified as asterisk-free.  What might the privacy implications be?  If the government discovers that you don't have Adderall in your system but have been using an illegal drug, could/should they be able to charge you with a crime?

Personality/Control Drugs

(PH) How might contract law accommodate a world where mind control drugs are common?  Would contract language alone be sufficient to void contracts entered into involuntarily?  Where a person alleges the other party drugged them to induce agreement should there be a presumption of a mind unaffected by drugs? 

(PH) If one party to a contract gives the other mind control drugs to induce agreement and the effects of the drugs are permanent or ongoing such that the drugged party will not challenge the contract, should third parties be permitted to bring suit to void the contract?  Could tort law accommodate this and provide relief for family members or others affected by such a contract even though they are not a party to it?

(PYS)  If an individual taking a personality-altering drug commits a crime due to an unforeseen personality drug side-effect, is the person charged to the fullest extent of the law because they voluntarily took the personality-altering drug, or would they be charged under a “diminished capacity” criminal charge?

(LY): If one can alter their personality, should the government have a say or any regulation on that? Any legal age requirement to do that?

(DE) Scientists have recently discovered that a common beta blocker--a drug that's been prescribed for hypertension for 50+ years--actually makes people less racist. Could drugs like these be mandated as part of the sentencing for people convicted of, for example, a racially motivated hate crime?  Assuming the side effects were minimal, could the government justify requiring that all people are required to take such a drug, so as to promote a more tolerant society?  Should such drugs be required in prison populations, so as to reduce racial gang

(CP): What, if any, would be the liability for dosing your cranky boss with something that made him/her more cordial and manageable to be around, and made them (at least from your perspective) visibly more happy with their life?

(AB) The Supreme Court ruled in Sell v. U.S. that although the government could not involuntarily medicate that particular defendant just based on trial competence, there still existed the possibility that the government could medicate a defendant-- but the occurrences would be rare. Could involuntary medication be extended past simply trial competence to personality-altering drugs as punishment and rehabilitation?  Could the courts force a person who is convicted for a violent crime to take pills that made him mellow and non-violent, significantly changing his personality? Would the government, in the interest of safety, have the power to require as a condition of probation a defendant take such a pill?

(MS)  Suppose a mind drug were available for those who were contemplating suicide which removed negative emotion and allowed for a thoughtful, rational analysis of their decision.  If this were available, should suicide and assisted suicide be legal?  Should the state require the taking of this drug and an appropriate waiting period before allowing the suicide?

(AB) How would the government regulate the use of drugs such as honesty or loyalty drugs? Would they be in general commercial use, or only used by law enforcement in emergency situations?  If they were available for general public use, would you need a prescription, as you do with many other drugs right now?  Who would be allowed to receive a prescription?

(MS)  Suppose a mind drug were able to remove all sexual desire in persons convicted of child molestation, rape, and other crimes of immoral sexual deviance.  Should convicts, as part of their parole, be required to take this so they have no desire to recommit these crimes?  What if “rehabilitation” came in the form of chemical castration – which would “fix” the mind and other organs – permanently?  Would this be preferable to incarceration? Should it be mandatory as a condition to reintegrate into society?

(MS)  In sports, the regulation of performance drugs always seems to lag behind the use of the next big performance enhancer.  If a completely undetectable performance-enhancing drug came on the market, would sports regulators have no choice but to allow it?  Would they have to then allow all other performance-enhancing drugs?

(MS)  Say a mind drug could be delivered in the water supply or aerosol form (as from a plane).  Should the United Nations deliver mind drug cocktails for “compassion and cooperation” to countries with violent unrest or where food aid is being delivered, but not distributed because of government corruption, organized crime, etc.?  What legal protections could the international community have to ensure dictators did not use the same techniques to introduce loyalty drugs into his population?


(DE) Many currently illegal drugs have been found to have positive medicinal uses.  For example, LSD is a promising potential treatment for alcoholism; people given the active ingredient in magic mushrooms (psilocybin) have demonstrated a more “open” personality over a year after their treatment; medical marijuana has been used to alleviate cancer pain and nausea; etc.  What sort of criminal liability should attach to researchers who perform experiments with illegal drugs for medicinal purposes?  Must the government approve of the research beforehand?

(DE) If a reliable truth serum were invented, could it be used by law enforcement?  Should one's choice not to take the serum be allowed into evidence during a trial?  Should this be allowed for impeachment only?

(MS)  There are many systems of property law in the world.  Community property, for example, assumes that the spouses’ “community sweat” will be divided equally upon separation or death.  Is this an appropriate model for a society in which marriages are primarily economic-based? That is, the couple arranges their marriage based on economic and other factors (including, perhaps, love) and take the appropriate drug for “romantic honeymoon,” “you are my life-mate,” and, when the time is right, “It’s not you, it’s me” (a mind drug for amicable separation from partners).

(MS)  Or, if there were such “anti-marital-anxiety” drugs available, should the state require these instead of, or prior to, granting a divorce?

AB: Ashley Brown
CP: Coleman Peng
DE: David Edramian
DF: David Friedman
LY: Linda Yu
MS: Matt Salcido
PH: Patrick Hensleigh

PYS: Previous Year's Student

From previous years:
 legal research on mind drugs, sexsomnia, and criminal defenses
Legal Research on mind drugs.
Legal Research on drugs and standing trial.
"Existing Mind Drugs and The Negation of Mens Rea"
"ADHD Drugs as Cognitive Enhancers"
  Mind Drugs

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