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Religious drug use in England, South Africa and the United States of America

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image of Religion & Human Rights

The question of whether there should be a fundamental right to sacramental use of psychotropic drugs, despite the existence of a general prohibition against the drug in question, has been considered by the courts of England, South Africa, and the United States. Despite the commonality of the issues in all three countries, the approaches taken by the courts show significant differences of interest beyond the factual situation. In particular, a consideration of the cases suggests different strategies in evaluating justificatory claims by the state when incidentally restricting religious practice; differing use of cases from other jurisdictions; and differing emphases on the importance of international law in interpreting fundamental rights.


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