Supplying Canadian Drug Addicts with Drugs Under the Guise of Medical Science and Research
Many academics, researchers and medical professional associations have worked diligently at changing the perception of drug addiction from that of an “illness” to a “chronic disease” like diabetes and heart disease. This is why supplying drugs to drug addicts is now considered health care and why addicts are being misled into believing they have a human right to heroin and other opioids.
Drug addicts come from all walks of life and include those addicted to both illegal and legally prescribed drugs. Does anyone really plan on becoming a drug addict? No, but individuals do have to accept responsibility for their actions including ones with devastating consequences. Without rehabilitation and recovery, drug addicts will become progressively worse; some overdose while others die a slow death as drugs ravage their mind, body, and soul.
Two months ago the Canadian government announced that its Special Access Program will not be used to provide access to heroin for drug-addicted research subjects who’ve completed a clinical trial in the Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness (SALOME). Dr. John Fletcher’s recent editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal states that the federal government’s refusal to provide access to drugs for these research subjects is a breach of ethical standards for clinical trials. He makes reference to the principles of ethical medical research contained in the verdict from the Doctors Trial held in Nuremberg, Germany. This is where doctors and bureaucrats involved with pseudoscience experiments conducted in the concentration camps were finally held personally responsible for their actions. History provides us with this horrific example of how easily criminal acts can become morally acceptable under the guise of medical science and research.
The University of British Columbia, Providence Health Care, and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research are the collaborators for the SALOME trial. All those involved with the study have received a government exemption from criminal charges under section 56 of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act.
What is the objective of the SALOME trial? The objective is to test the comparative effectiveness of injectable and oral opioids for use in drug maintenance programs. Who benefits? Is it government trying to save money on the backs of patients under a public health care system? Is it academics and researchers wanting to make a name for themselves? Is it pharmaceutical companies pushing for tax-payer funded, government-mandated insurance coverage for their drugs? Is it politicians trying to garner votes by appealing to the notion of public safety?
What about the drug-addicted research subjects? Substituting illegal drugs like heroin with legally prescribed drugs doesn’t cure drug addiction, it only adds to the casualties of big pharma’s turf war. Former research subjects of the North American Opiate Medication Initiative (NAOMI), a forerunner to SALOME, have provided recommendations for future research and drug maintenance programs. Not surprisingly, their end goal is a continuous supply of drugs through publicly-funded drug maintenance programs.
Both the Canadian Medical Association and the Canadian Nurses Association are proponents of the public health approach and its so-called harm reduction model for the treatment of drug addiction. A position that’s inconsistent with the abstinence-based recovery programs they provide for the members of their professions.
A cure for drug addiction already exists; just ask former drug addicts who are now living drug-free. It requires that addicts stop taking drugs and deal with the underlying issues that led to their drug use and addiction. Research studies and clinical trials like the SALOME, and the drug maintenance programs they seek to give birth to, show us just how far the art and science of medicine continues to stray from the moral high ground.