Should Opioid Addicts Be Forced to Undergo Medical Treatment?

According to a forthcoming study, there is little evidence that opioid addicts benefit from involuntary commitment, and the “legal and ethical” concerns raised by such strategies should make policymakers think twice about employing them.

“Like most medical treatment, addiction treatment depends on the patient’s voluntary cooperation,” says the study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics.

“Although some evidence suggests that certain types of people might benefit from involuntary treatment, a 2016 review of available data concluded that evidence does not suggest improved outcomes of compulsory treatment, and some studies suggested potential harm resulting from such treatment.”

“Not every perceived solution is legitimate or desirable, no matter the scope of the crisis.”

While the study concedes that the spreading opioid epidemic requires “significant intervention,” it adds, “not every perceived solution is legitimate or desirable, no matter the scope of the crisis.”

The study observes that the infrequency of civil commitment for substance abusers is related to reluctance on the part of clinicians and others to spend money on forced treatment when availability of voluntary addiction treatment remains scarce.

The study was written by Ish Bhalla and Rocksheng Zhong of Yale University; and Nina Cohen, Claudia E. Haupt, and Kate Stith of Yale Law School.

From The Crime Report.

Read the full article here.

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