My answer to the question of this topic would be a resounding no.
What I am referring to is the concept that being under the influence of alcohol (though this probably applies to other drugs, logically speaking) partially reduces or completely removes ones accountability for their actions.
I have heard this theory thrown around quite often. People argue that they or someone else should be cut slack simply because they were drunk at the time they did something. I have a friend who at least partially believes in this theory.
But what's really the most amazing example of the theory is this: One time, a piss drunk guy in a bar tried to stab my ENTJ friend in the neck with a knife. He raised his hand in time to get stabbed in the hand instead of the neck, but that still sucks. Well, this turned into a small court case, and the assailant basically attempted murder, by trying to stab my friend in the neck. But his charges were watered way down, to the point that he was treated like a man that crashed into telephone poll while drunk. He was treated as someone that risked committing manslaughter, not some that attempted murder. The reasoning behind this, was that he was so drunk at the time, that he could not be found fully accountable for his actions. Imagine that! Getting drunk actually makes you less guilty of things!
I find this notion threateningly irresponsible, and I find it both ethically and logically unsound. I will put forward what I consider five fundamental qualifiers for accountability. The first four are all basic pillars of accountability, and so you are more accountable for each one that is true in your situation. The fifth one is a special rule about presumption. This is a lengthy description of ethical principles, so you be prepared. Here they are:
Was it in your power to unilaterally avert the particular action/event and its consequences? If yes, you are more accountable.
This is the most basic and obvious rule of accountability.
Were there plausible alternatives to your course of action that would have resulted in less detriment than the course you chose? If yes, you are more accountable.
This is to account for a situation where, as an extreme example, someone was threatening to kill you if you didn't follow orders. You might do something bad, but we can all cut you a little slack if your plausible alternatives were even worse. But, if you could have very likely done something not as bad as what you chose to do, you are more accountable.
Did you have sufficient knowledge of the nature of your actions and what their consequences might be? If yes, you are more accountable.
The classic case of pleading ignorance. Sometimes in law, ignorance cannot be an excuse, but in most ethical philosophy it is. If you were not aware of what you were doing, then there is not sufficient grounds to assume that you had sinister intent, and you may be a perfectly good and useful person who just needs a little education. But if you did have knowledge of consequences, you are guilty, because you acted with intent to do something even as you acknowledged the harm it would do. You chose to do wrong.
Did you have sufficient knowledge of better and easier alternatives to your course of action? If yes, you are more accountable.
Sort of a counter-part to the second question, and a little modifier for the third. Maybe you chose to do something with knowledge of the ways in which your actions were wrong, but you only did it because you were not aware of better plausible alternatives. In the other words, this is like believing that someone would kill you if you didn't follow orders, when in fact, nobody would. If you were misinformed about this, then you get some slack for the same reasons as the previous rule. If you weren't, then you are guilty, are for the same reasons as the previous rule.
So those are the four basic pillars. and if you can say yes to all of them, you are 100% accountable. But there is then the fifth rule, which addresses the third and fourth rules.
Do others have the right to presume your knowledge?
In other words, if you try to cite the third and fourth rules to say "I didn't know, have mercy!", I will check to see if I have the right to presume your knowledge. If I have grounds to presume that you should have known, the ignorance defense is severely weakened, as it increases the likelihood that you are a liar or someone that ignores important information, and both make you more guilty in some way.
So, having given my lengthy breakdown of what I believe are the basics of accountability, I will argue that in the vast majority of cases (though there are exception to all of my following rules) people are completely accountable for their actions when intoxicated.
Rule 1: A person could have avoided getting drunk by simply declining to drink. Had they not been drunk in the first place, they would not have done the stupid, harmful things that they do while drunk.
Rule 2: It doesn't really cost anything to not drink. It's easier in every way, less costly in every sense. So, in other words, there were better plausible alternatives to getting drunk.
For rules 3 and 4, I cite rule 5. You damn well should know what the consequences are of getting drunk, and that there are safer, easy alternatives. This is especially true if you have already been drunk in the past. You have experienced it first hand, and you should not only know the effect it has on most all people, but you should be aware of the specific way that it makes you behave. Therefore, if you have ever been drunk, I have the right to presume your knowledge, and so discount and possible use of rules 3 and 4 as a defense.
So it follows, that the person who does something wrong as a result of being drunk, is only drunk because they voluntarily chose to become drunk, in spite of safer easy alternatives, and they did so with full knowledge of what might potentially or even probably happen if they get drunk.
They are 100% accountable for all their actions that result from intoxication.
So, I'd like to thank anyone that bothers to read through that whole thing. I hope you found my elaboration on accountability interesting.
I've made my case about the accountability of the intoxicated, so if you believe you have a counter argument, I would love to hear it.