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Ethics for Police: Lessons from the Opioid Epidemic

Jake Monaghan, Assistant Professor (Research) of Philosophy, Urban Entrepreneurship and Policy Institute (Greaux!), University of New Orleans

University Union Orchard Suite (2nd Fl), 11am-12:30pm, February 3, 2020

The number of Americans dying of opioid related overdoses is unacceptably high, and police have been asked to take the lead in bringing this crisis under control. Yet, hardly a week goes by where police are not being embroiled in new controversies, and concerns about police militarization and excessive use of force are widespread. This urges the question: what would a good police response to the opioid epidemic look like? In this talk, Jake Monaghan uses the tools of political philosophy to examine how law enforcement and public health professions respond to the problems of drug abuse. He shows how principles of proportionality, leniency, and equality provide useful tools for evaluating law enforcement strategies and policies, empowering police to isolate morally problematic elements of existing strategies and identify alternatives that would be more equitable and just.