Heroin addiction and voluntary choice: The case of informed consent

Bioethics 27 (7):395-401 (2013)
Abstract
Does addiction to heroin undermine the voluntariness of heroin addicts' consent to take part in research which involves giving them free and legal heroin? This question has been raised in connection with research into the effectiveness of heroin prescription as a way of treating dependent heroin users. Participants in such research are required to give their informed consent to take part. Louis C. Charland has argued that we should not presume that heroin addicts are competent to do this since heroin addiction by nature involves a loss of ability to resist the desire for heroin. In this article, I argue that Charland is right that we should not presume that heroin addicts are competent to consent, but not for the reason he thinks. In fact, as Charland's critics correctly point out, there is plenty of evidence showing that heroin addicts can resist their desire for heroin. These critics are wrong, however, to conclude from this that we should presume that heroin addicts are competent to give their voluntary consent. There are, I shall argue, other conditions associated with heroin addiction that might constrain heroin addicts' choice in ways likely to undermine the voluntariness of their consent. In order to see this, we need to move beyond the focus on the addicts' desires for heroin and instead consider the wider social and psychological circumstances of heroin addiction, as well as the effects these circumstances may have on the addicts' beliefs about the nature of their options
Keywords voluntary choice  addiction  irresistible desire  informed consent
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2012.01969.x
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history
Request removal from index
Download options
Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 26,188
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Addiction, Autonomy, and Informed Consent: On and Off the Garden Path.Neil Levy - 2016 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 41 (1):56-73.
Obstetric Autonomy and Informed Consent.Jessica Flanigan - forthcoming - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice:1-20.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Cynthia's Dilemma: Consenting to Heroin Prescription.Louis C. Charland - 2002 - American Journal of Bioethics 2 (2):37 – 47.
Is It a Crime to Belong to a Reference Class.Mark Colyvan, Helen M. Regan & Scott Ferson - 2001 - Journal of Political Philosophy 9 (2):168–181.
Heroin Addiction, Ethics and Philosophy of Medicine.H. ten Have & P. Sporken - 1985 - Journal of Medical Ethics 11 (4):173-177.
Can Broad Consent Be Informed Consent?M. Sheehan - 2011 - Public Health Ethics 4 (3):226-235.
Monkey on the Back: The Nature of Addiction.Gregory K. Pike - 2012 - Bioethics Research Notes 24 (3):46.
Ethical Androcentrism and Maternal Substance Addiction.Jennifer A. Parks - 1999 - International Journal of Applied Philosophy 13 (2):165-175.

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2012-04-13

Total downloads

82 ( #61,940 of 2,153,589 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

19 ( #21,276 of 2,153,589 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.

Other forums