Don't you hate those which-came-first questions?

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Some say the chicken. Some say the egg. Both make good points, both raise unanswerable challenges, and both are certain they're right.

For instance, if the chicken came first, where did it come from? From an egg, right? On the other hand, if the egg came first, did it lay itself?

You see, it's a vicious circle – or, in this particular case, a vicious oval.

The same question comes up in criminology. For instance, which came first, the prostitute or the john?

You can't be a prostitute if there aren't any paying customers, but why would there be paying customers in the absence of a prostitute? Who flashes what first?

You could puzzle this out all night if you had nothing else to do. Even if you could solve the philosophical conundrum, you'd still have the perplexing moral question of who led whom astray?

The same imponderables apply to drug transactions. Which comes first, the pusher or the user? And who's taking advantage of whom?

The answers surely vary from person to person and case to case, but let's consider just those cases involving licensed professionals. There are undoubtedly physicians and pharmacists who set out to take advantage of their privileged positions in the medical field by offering prescription drugs to customers who don't require them, and not a few “patients” who coerce concessions from their doctors and druggists.

Who is to blame?

Last week, our state Supreme Court ruled that juries should decide if illegal drug users can sue physicians and pharmacies for addictions. In other words, the court punted.

As Justice Allen Loughry noted in his dissent, the decision would “permit admitted criminal drug abusers to manipulate our justice system to obtain monetary damages to further fund their abuse and addiction.”

Not a good decision for juries who have more than enough work deciding the guilt or innocence of accused drug users.

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