Ethics describes how things ought to be done and not what people think is right for them to do. Ethics involves set prescriptions which people are supposed to follow. Ethics come from different ways say morality. Morality in the sense that, people ought to live as per the given norm. Ethics may also involve directions given on something that is prescriptions given say in medicine. Ethical theories use various normative ethical principles and these theories are used to assess the various behavior people normally do since some of the behaviors are thought to be good while other are thought to be bad.
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As a result, ethics should have set theories which are used to assess the success of these behaviours.People interaction with others leads to a range of behaviours.In order for ethical theories/principles to be of benefit to the society, ethical discourse must use certain procedures, understandings and judgment criteria that all rational people who are actually concerned with morality and ethics might affirm. These ethical issues are thought to be the ground rules for our moral decision making. (Coleman, 1990).
Evaluating the problem
The biggest problem in this case is parental addiction to smoking and alcohol. It is unethical for parents to drink. This is because this will affect their marriage and the children at large. Their moral standards will be bad as when compared to non alcoholics. Although these parents are sometimes good, they are suffering from addiction which affects Mary so much. You find that when one or both of your parents are alcoholic, most of the times these families never succeed in life. Out of research, 70% of these families lead to family breakage, a habit which should be stopped. Mary was worried a lot about her parent’s situation.
You find that most of the cases when your parents are addicts of alcohol, students are usually teased by others is school. Am assuming Mary was facing this, that’s why she was worried a lot about her parent’s situation. She even happened to join the Al-Anonn meetings whereby she happened to understand her parent’s situation. It is in this meeting she got these prescriptions for her parents. (Rossouw, 1997).
Another problem in this case is, she noticed that her parents had new prescriptions for strong narcotic pain medication for back pain, which they had never suffered from before. They now used the medication as an additional intoxicant with their alcohol, and often in excess of the recommended dosage, clearly in violation of the warning labels. It’s also unethical not to follow doctor’s prescription when using certain drugs. These parents ignored those prescriptions just because they wanted to fulfill their desires. These parents had changed from their original prescription and adopted another prescription different from the original prescription.
Since these parents are addicted with alcohol meaning that they can’t function without alcohol, they chose the new prescription which could go with alcohol. This is because most of the medicines are never used with alcohol since when you use with alcohol, it will have no effect in your body. So in this case, these parents since they are addicted, they decided to use the extra dose so that they could use it with alcohol. (Rossouw, 1997).
Decision to be made
Sine these parents are apparent abuse of, and addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol, I think the best thing for Mary to do is to visit counselors and privately welcome them in their home so that they could discuss this issue in the presence of her parents. This is because, her parent’s situation is becoming worse and when not addressed earlier; it will affect their health and can also lead to their death. This is because, these drugs usually have physician’s prescriptions on how to use them and when those prescriptions are not followed; this can even lead to death. So Mary should stop worrying of whatever will happen if she reveals the secrets of their private doctor and let the dogs out. In fact she will be doing this for the sake of her parents. She should also advise them to use the correct prescription which should be used on these drugs.
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Another thing Mary should do is to continue praying for these parents. We are told in the case that they are strong Christians and do go to the church. She should then use this opportunity to counsel her parents. She should also use her pastor to counsel them. You see, churches are the best places to rehabilitate people. If the pastor understands the situation these parents are in, then this pastor can use this time to advise these parents indirectly for the sake of their future. (Coleman, 1990).
Responses or actions that could be taken to resolve the central ethical
There are several options which Mary can take. One of them is visiting counselors occasionally and this can help her overcome the situation. It’s through this counselor advice which will help Mary advise her parents to stop drinking and smoking. If only these parents could stop drinking, things would be better for her. Another option is praying for them daily. Prayer can also have a strong impact on this issue.
She should actually ask God to help her parents stop drinking and definitely this can work through. Mary should also use her pastor since we are told that these parents are strong Christians, and it’s through this pastor, through his prayer and teachings, which can help these parents change. Another option is that, Mary should face these parents and talk to them and stop worrying about their relationship. This is because the situation is becoming worse and who knows, her talking to them can help change them completely. (Rossouw, 1997).
Wisest option to go
I think the best option to go for, is talking to these parents about their condition. This is because their situation is worse since her brother and the family is affected too. She should use the knowledge she has in counseling and try to talk to these parents about the side effects with these drugs. She can be a good change agent to them if only she approaches them in the right manner. They are her parents and should stop worrying about the friendship with them. There are certain ethical principles which can apply in this case and include the following. (Rossouw, 1997).
Contract principle is used to address morality issues. Morality means set rules and regulations in most of the societies which should be used. These rules can either be explicit or even implicit. These parents are just setting a bad example to their child. This is because addiction to drugs is immoral especially to parents. They are acting as a role model to their parents and this means that the child if not properly upright, will become an addict as well. When parents set rules in their families, these rules should be followed by their children.
Also when medicines are manufactured, there are certain prescriptions on these drugs which ought to be followed by those who use this medicine. These are set rules as per the use of those drugs. If not properly used, then it becomes unethical since ethics means that, things ought to be done as per those rules and not what people think should be done. (Rossouw, 1997).
Utilitarianism is a principle doctrine in ethics which hold that the moral worthiness of an action is solely determined by its entire contribution to overall goodness or badness. Utilitarianism observes happiness and pleasure to make the best of them as preferred to suffering and pain. Its dogma lies in the observation of the greatest good, while it, paying no attention to how the good is distributed. This arouses many puzzling question on its application in the ethical point of view.
The down- looks of the distribution of the goodness in its evaluation lead to huge mess. Evaluation of proposed actions and the course of the action are necessary as well as observing directly the individual moral or good characters. In order to have the greatest factor of the society preserved, there should be a worthy tool to use, therefore, utilitarianism can be in most cases be used to check on cultural, intellectual and spiritual pleasures which forms these greatest values than the mere physical pleasure.
This is clearly shown in Mary’s parents. Despite the fact that her parents her drug addicts, they do their parental functions. They usually support her in everything she wants. This is shown in the case because, we see that Mary went to school and it’s her parents who actually provide her with financial assistance. These parents are so caring despite the fact that they are drug addicts. They make sure that Mary has gone to school and we also see that they are strong Christians since they usually attend church. (Rossouw, 1997).
This theory can also be seen in this case. In the case, Mary’s parents are affecting her socially. This is because she gets worried because of her parents addiction to alcohol and drugs. We are told that when she came for her winter break, she noticed changes in her parents. When she came home for winter break from college, she noticed that her parents had new prescriptions for strong narcotic pain medication for back pain, which they had never suffered from before.
They now used the medication as an additional intoxicant with their alcohol, and often in excess of the recommended dosage, clearly in violation of the warning labels. Mary felt as though her parents were abusing the drugs, and brought this up with them. This issue was stressing Mary so much and she feared revealing the privacy she had with her parent’s doctor. As a result, this habit affected Mary so much and can be seen as harm to her since its giving her a lot of stress. (Kennedy, and Lawton, 1996).
Immanuel Kant’s theory
Kantian theory can also apply in this case. This theory states that people should act in a way that they should not treat people as a mere means to an end but always as an end to themselves. This is shown in Mary’s case. She has tried so much to see that her parents have stopped drinking. She does everything to make sure her parents can follow the correct prescriptions to this medicine. For instance, in high school, Mary dealt with some anxiety about her parents’ health by attending Al-Anon meetings to help her understand their addiction. It is through this that she got the correct prescriptions for her parents which helped her understand the correct prescription for this medicine to take. She understands that improper prescriptions of these medicines would have side effects on her parents. (Kennedy, and Lawton, 1996).
Logical fallacies used in the story
Smoking is harmful to ones health in most of the societies. Since smoking is harmful to your body, people should never violate the law and since you shouldn’t smoke, it is the duty of the government to stop people from smoking and that’s why smoking is harmful to ones health. People should be in a position to understand the side effects with smoking and stop it. It is also written as a warning and people should never violate this. Smoking has so many side effects which can harm ones body. One, smoking cause cancer. Cancer is a deadly disease which is as a result of smoking. Smoking should also never be done in public places since can also have effects on non users of these substances. So it’s upon the government to make sure cigarette smoking is banned and people should never smoke in public places.
People should never drink when under doctor’s prescription. This is because alcohol has a strong acid and may make the medicine you are using to lose effect. So when under prescription, people should never smoke. Over prescription will also have a side effect on the person trying to use it? This is shown in Mary’s mother. During summer vacation, she noticed that they would take the medication first thing in the morning, and continue taking it all day long. One morning, her mother forgot to take the medication and was sick by lunchtime. Since she never took her prescription as she normally does, she felt sick in this case. (Kennedy, and Lawton, 1996).
Stakeholders in the case
One of the stakeholders in this case is Al-Anon meetings. In this case, these meetings have helped Mary so much in understanding her parent’s conditions. In high school, Mary dealt with some anxiety about her parents’ health by attending Al-Anon meetings to help her understand their addiction. She was comforted by her parents’ ability to continue functioning well despite their addiction, and Al-Anon’s suggestions for dealing with their choices. It’s through these meetings which also helped Mary to know the correct prescriptions which her parents were supposed to follow.
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Another stakeholder in this case is her old brother’s condition. She was concerned about the effects on her older brother, his wife, and two children. We are not told what exactly was the problem with this family but from my point of view, this family was addicted too and that why she was worried so much. Its like these parents were addicts too which also affected the whole family. This can be a good example to those who are addicted with these drugs since it affects most of the families. (Rossouw, 1997).
Another stakeholder in this case is her parent’s family doctor. These parents use this doctor in order to get these prescriptions. Mary has also a private meeting with this doctor who also helps her understand the conditions of her parents. The doctor also advises her on how to use those prescriptions and that’s why she tries to understand when the parents use the wrong prescriptions.
Another stakeholder in this case is church. These parents as we are told are strong Christians. They usually go to church and this church also acts as a rehabilitation center for these parents since we are told that despite the fact that these parents are strong addicts, they continue supporting her since she is now in college and it’s her parents who normally pay for her school fees. (Rossouw, 1997).
Ethics describes how things ought to be done and not what people think is right to do. Ethics involves set prescriptions which people are supposed to follow. It also includes the moral values which people are supposed to follow so that they can set a good example to the rest members of the society. Certain behaviors can affect ethical standards like smoking and drinking. When parents are addicted with these substances, you find that the rest of that family can be affected too.
It has also effects to the children like the case with Mary. She is much concerned about her parent’s situations and wants to help them so much despite the fear that this would affect their relationship. She tries to understand the correct prescriptions these parents are supposed to follow and gets worried when she discovers that her mother is not using the correct prescription. She has set a good example to others whose parents are also addicts. Children can change their parent’s behavior if only they use the correct chain. For instance in this case, Mary should help her parents overcome this situation by talking to them about the effects this is causing to them. She is also undergoing stress and it’s through their change which can make Mary settled.
Rossouw, G. (1997). Business ethics in South Africa. Journal of Business ethics.
Kennedy, E. and Lawton, L. (1996). The effects of social and moral integration on ethical Standards. Business journal on ethics.
Coleman, J. (1990). Foundations of social theory. Cambridge. Belknap Press.
Lyons, D. (1965). Forms and Limits of Utilitarianism. Oxford University Press.