My head is swirling in disbelief. My heart is aching. Each day hundreds of our young ones are dying from alcohol, tobacco, opioids and other drugs. Anxiety and teen depression rates are soaring. Marijuana is legal and is being touted as a drug for the rich and famous. One only needs to see the billion dollar advertising of Med Men and The Leaf to know it’s chic, fashionable and a must along side your Louis Vuitton purse and Gucci shoes. And now it’s a popular candy! Jelly Bellies are marketing 38 different CBD-infused colors.
Ethics are crumbling in multiple places. College admissions procedures and college consultants are getting a once over. In a country where being in the right group and meeting the right people can be bought at any time, reality TV turns the Kardashians into a billion dollar business while we brand those who have committed a crime with a scarlet letter.
In the past year the Me Too movement has taken down powerful men and women and the virtue of an NDA (Non- Disclosure Agreement) has been unified and vilified all in the name of truth and honesty. There has not been a sector in our country – from politics to teachers to tech – that has not breached an ethical boundary.
As a clinician and an addiction specialist who writes and speaks on ethics, I pondered where have all our ethics gone. The behavioral health community is full of transgressions as well. Fee splitting, false advertising, insurance fraud and mismanagement crop up from time to time.
Do we confuse ethics with morality? Do we have selective ethics calling out a select group while ignoring another? Take for example how many states have elected to legalize marijuana, however, few regulations exist for quantity, intensity and frequency. Few regulations exist for advertising, packaging and distribution. Driving this morning on Highway 215 to Palm Desert, in less than 3 miles there were 6 different billboards touting the virtue of where one can buy marijuana.
Furthermore, is it ethical to produce marijuana in multiple types and forms in the hopes that that it is more palatable to the discerning eye in child-like forms? Chocolate chip cookies, jelly beans and other convenience store grabs are coming to shelves in every stretch of the country. Who are we targeting? What consumers are we ultimately cultivating? In short, where have all are ethics gone???
Thoughts, comments and experiences are welcome!