VICE.COM – Canada will legalize medically assisted dying for people who are addicted to drugs next spring, in a move some drug users and activists are calling “eugenics.”
The country’s medical assistance in dying (MAID) law, which first came into effect in 2016, will be expanded next March to give access to people whose sole medical condition is mental illness, which can include substance use disorders.
Before the changes take place, however, a special parliamentary committee on MAID will regroup to scrutinize the rollout of the new regulations, according to the Toronto Star.
Currently, people are eligible for MAID if they have a “grievous and irremediable medical condition”, such as a serious illness or disability, that has put them in an advanced state of irreversible decline and caused enduring physical or psychological suffering—excluding mental illness.
Anyone who receives MAID must also go through two assessments from independent health care providers, among meeting other criteria.
The contentious idea of including people who are addicted to drugs is being discussed this week at a conference for the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine in Victoria, British Columbia.
Dr. David Martell, physician lead for Addictions Medicine at Nova Scotia Health, who is presenting a framework for assessing people with substance use disorders for MAID at the conference, said:
“I don’t think it’s fair, and the government doesn’t think it’s fair, to exclude people from eligibility because their medical disorder or their suffering is related to a mental illness,”
“As a subset of that, it’s not fair to exclude people from eligibility purely because their mental disorder might either partly or in full be a substance use disorder. It has to do with treating people equally.”
However, some drug users and harm reduction advocates told VICE News they’re upset the idea of drug users being given access to MAID is even being discussed …