Monday March 17
• A critical analysis of 1 or 2 articles (some essay topics have 2 assigned articles)
• You are free to choose something that hasn’t been covered in class
• When we talk about addiction, it raises the issue of informed consent
• Before conducting a study on people, you have to submit it to a research ethics
board, and have the participants sign a consent form
• Informed consent is written into the Health Care Consent Act in Ontario
• Each province has different regulations governing informed consent
• Consent must be:
• In a heroin prescription study, the people who were being studied were living on
the street and were regular daily users of heroin who have all been in and failed
at treatment. Some work in the sex trade, some resort to robbery to get the
money to fund their addiction. People who have severe habits can inject 3-8
times a day. In the group of research subjects, many suffered from anxiety and
depression, as well as emotional and physical abuse. We would call this a
o When looking at getting college students to complete a study, we don’t
worry about their vulnerability and their ability to give informed consent,
but these people are hurting and suffering from various ailments.
o This study was meant to test whether giving the people heroin for free
(harm reduction), they would have improved outcomes (eg. stop working
in the sex trade for money, fewer infections and STIs)
o Can people who are suffering from mental disorders give informed
If someone is high or in withdrawal, it is not the best time to ask
someone for informed consent.
When you find them in a half-way point, they are more coherent
and you can give them the information about the study - they are
o Is it voluntary?
A consent is not voluntary if they have something to lose by not
giving their consent
Voluntary consent is also controversial at universities (because
students get marks for being in the study – if they don’t participate,
they lose marks) • Even though there is no harm in the study, you are taking
valuable student time and forcing them to be in the study
(there is a penalty if they say no)
Bribery is another form of manipulation (eg. offering money to
complete a study)
o Are they capable?
Do they have the decision-making capacity/mental competence?