Imagine this scenario:

Your brother is a heroin addict who has tried multiple times over the span of a year to get sober and each attempt has failed. Fearing that he may die if he does not stop using, you try to admit him to a rehab center but he refuses to go, saying instead that he will agree to go through detox by himself in the privacy of his apartment—which has already been cleared of contraband. After his history of drug use there is a very likely chance that detoxing in an environment lacking professional help will hurt or even kill him. Knowing this you have two options:

  1. You stay with him for the week while he comes down so there will be someone present to help or call an ambulance should he need one. This involves spontaneously taking time off from your new job where your reputation and work ethic have not yet been fully established, putting your employment and, therefore, your family’s financial stability at risk.
  2. You leave him to detox on his own, knowing that there’s a chance he could die without assistance during the experience. This also means that he will have greater opportunity to acquire more heroin and fall off the wagon before he even begins to detox which, given his history, will also put his life at risk.


You could treat this scenario as a thought experiment, if you wish, juggling the two options in the air until only one lands in your hand while the other drops away. Which option is right and which option is wrong?

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