It is important to approach ethical problems systematically. List the relevant facts (separating the irrelevant details from the central issues).Identify the precise moral question to be answered. List and think about the moral principles that might be used to support the positions that could be taken.Make and explain your decision (i.e., your morally permissible course of conduct).Justify your conclusions using positive reasons and ethical principles in support of your decision, anticipating and addressing contrary views.
Drug use by teenagers is a fundamental fear of most parents. Coupled with images on the news, reports of government statistics about rampant drug use, and periodic tragedies at schools around the country, most parents have been shown a clear link between drug use and tragedies of all kinds. You are the parent of a teenager, who is showing all the signs of being a teenager. Your child is not very talkative to you, but is very talkative with friends; doesn’t want to be seen with you or the family at stores or on vacation; does not seem interested in being an “A” student anymore; has lousy taste in music; wears unattractive clothing and hairstyles; and wants to get even more body parts pierced. These behaviors have not gone unnoticed by you, and you fear that drug use might be at the root of it. You contact Detector Dogs against Drugs, one of a growing number of private security firms in the United States that trains dogs and is licensed by the Drug Enforcement Administration to contract with schools, corporations, or parents to conduct dog-led searches of teenager’s rooms and lockers for drugs. The fee is $250-$750 for the search, but you don’t know what some of today’s drugs look like or the places where your teenager might hide drugs in the house. You wait for your teenager to leave for school one day to have the search conducted without his or her knowledge or presence. You don’t believe that confronting your teenager with your suspicions will be fruitful, and if the search turns up nothing, then you will know your fears are unfounded.