Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work?


9:30 am - May 22nd 2010

by Sarah Ditum    


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Barbara Harris, the founder of Project Prevention, is the definition of a social entrepreneur. She’s the kind of person who, under the Big Society ideology of the Conservatives, might be represented as a worthy provider of a public service.

She saw a social problem where she lived in LA, and she – with the time, money and inclination to do it – implemented her own solution. She even uses the language of entrepreneurship to describe the poor and desperate people she works with: they’re her “paid clients”.

And now, she’s bringing that solution to the UK, campaigning from the This Morning Sofa and the BBC’s Hard Talk.

The problem she identified is the birth of babies to drug-addicted parents. And the solution? Paying addicts to be sterilised.

Before her current UK tour, Harris claimed to have received 400 requests for her services and a $20,000 donation. That’s enough to pay about 65 women to get sterilised at the standard rate of $300 a time.

While Project Prevention doesn’t exclusively offer sterilisation – long-term, reversible contraceptive methods such as the coil, implants and injections are also supported – more than a third of her “clients” do take the tubal ligation option, according to Project Prevention’s own statistics.

In interviews Harris fequently describes herself as offering sterilisation. It’s fair to say that sterilisation is presented as the first choice for drug-addicted women. (And the “clients” mostly are women – fewer than 50 of Project Prevention’s “paid clients” had a vasectomy, which means that fewer that 2% of them are men.)

There are some pretty obvious ethical issues in offering drug addicts money for medical procedures. Harris has said (in an interview for Radio 4’s Taking A Stand) that that “in most cases” the money Project Prevention hands out goes to pay for more drugs.

Ultimately, Project Prevention’s money could be used to subsidise the drugs trade, supporting dealers and helping to create new addicts.

But Harris’ interest isn’t in the long-term outcomes for the women she works with or the areas they live in. There’s no subsequent monitoring programme and no requirement that addicts sign up for treatment – Project Prevention’s involvement with these women begins and ends with their fertility.

If they should later regret their sterilisation, Harris says “that’s no worse than if they got AIDS prostituting”, putting Project Prevention on the same level of responsibility as a virus.

At the bottom of this, Harris is responding to a genuine problem, even if she does exaggerate its severity. Babies born to drug-addicted mothers have a bad start of it.

If the pregnancy comes to term (drug or alcohol abuse both increase the risk of miscarriage), it’s more likely to result in a premature or early birth, low birth weight, infant mortality and other health problems. And then there are the social costs: children of the addicted are more likely to grow up in impoverished or disrupted conditions, and more likely to end up in care. It’s fair to say that drug addiction isn’t a great foundation for family.

Dr Petra Boynton, agony aunt and sex educator, acknowledges this, but says that Project Prevention’s approach isn’t the answer either: ”

Aside from their work being based on ideology rather than evidence (they’ve not published any research on the effectiveness of their approach for example), there is the issue of existing UK services.

We have got overstretched reproductive health services, but generally they are good and are currently seeking to improve their work. It seems odd that an organisation from outside the UK wants to parachute in and start their own approach which may run counter to what’s being attempted here.

After all, all the options offered by Project Prevention are available for free in the UK through the NHS. A better way for Harris to help addicts access contraception would be to help drug services and sex educators to work together – but then, that would take a much more sympathetic approach than Harris seems able to offer.

Harris says that she’s happy to accept donations from far right organisations, so long as the money can help her cause. Distasteful as that all might be, it isn’t the reason we should reject what she’s offering: Project Prevention should be turned back at the border because what it’s offering is short-sighted, liable to exacerbate the problem it’s supposed to solve, and most of all, it just isn’t needed.

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Sarah is a regular contributor and a freelance journalist and critic. She blogs at Paperhouse.
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Reader comments


1. Chris Baldwin

“The problem she identified is the birth of babies to drug-addicted parents. And the solution? Paying addicts to be sterilised”

Oh my God, that’s absolutely horrific. I couldn’t care less whether it works, it’s wrong. It could solve drug addiction at a stroke and it would still be disgraceful. For shame.

I’m not saying that Project Prevention is the answer. But do you really think that Harris is exaggerating the severity of being born to drug addict parents?

As someone who has works in the mental health sector – and yes, mental illness and addiction go hand in hand – the severity of having drug addict parents simply can’t be exaggerated. A child born into such a family barely has a chance – not just health-wise, but financially, educationally and, most of all, emotionally.

That’s pretty sick f****** sh*t!

Who else will they claim should be sterilised?

Richard Dawkins once said on the Big Questions (look it up on Youtube) that parents addicted to drink should be sterilised.

I suppose it “works” in the same way that paying a drug addict to (degrading sexual activity reference deleted) “works”.

Harris has said (in an interview for Radio 4’s Taking A Stand) that that “in most cases” the money Project Prevention hands out goes to pay for more drugs.

Well, make that “in all cases” and we’re closer to the truth. Her whole strategy depends upon this being the case.

surely paying the addicts cash (which obviously goes on more drugs) does nothing to solve the problem of them being addicts, even if they cant have kids?

6. Mike Killingworth

Based on ideology rather than evidence – in the US context this is itself an ideological proposition – evangelical Christian conservatives (including much of the Tea Party) regard evidence other than their own, chiliastic-exceptionalist interpretation of the Bible as anti-American liberalism at best, satanism at worst.

If a right-wing government here – and I think it would have to be a good deal further to the right than the present one – wanted to promote the likes of Project Prevention, they’d need to get rid of our apolitical Civil Service first (remember, in the US, civil servants are political appointees far more likely to sign off this kind of thing without proper scrutiny).

All that said, there remains a real outreach problem in this area, particularly with trafficked women (or sex-slaves to give them their real name).

This is barbaric and merely a reflection of the crazed American “war on drugs”

As someone who wrote a publication fo the Dept of Health and Home Office on drug using parents I can tell you most drug using parents are very good parents, often over compensating because they feel guilt about taking drugs when pregnant.

Dr Mary Hepburn a consultant obstetrician who runs Glasgow Women’s Reproductive Health Service helped me write the report, she treats many pregnant drug using women every year. As she says:

“she isn’t surprised her patients take drugs. What surprises her is that some don’t. “If I lived in these awful circumstances, I would use drugs,” she says. Most of the expectant mums she sees are deprived and profoundly socially excluded.”

http://www.heraldscotland.com/society-must-help-addicted-mums-1.839480

“Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work?” erm, let’s ask Rush Limbaugh.

*baboom tish*

I wonder how much longer righties will be able to surprise me at the depths they are prepared to plumb? Could there be a more prejudiced, bigoted, ignorant programme than this? Could it be that this programme disproportionately affects non-whites?

Over-reaction? Third world countries with population problems have offered incentives for sterilisation in the past – maybe ethically dubious, but not much of an outcry.

I think if the problem is the fitness to carry a child and raise a child of the addict, and their likelihood to be bad at using day-to-day or act-by-act contraception, there’s a gap in the market.

Saying “it’s available on the NHS for free” doesn’t address the incentive issue, at all. I’d say sterilisation goes much too far, implying that there’s no possibility of the addict becoming clean and capable in the future – as too few do, but not none.

Paying for social outcomes in general though – we’ve talked about that plenty, rewarding the obese for their weight loss, and so on. I’d have no problem with the Government offering an incentive for medium-term contraception – coil or implant – for those who are in no state to have children.

Everyone whose liberal guilt leads them to defend heavy use of hard drugs by reference to social conditions, or to deny the devastating impact being born to, and raise by, a drug addict(s, sometimes, but again not often) has on a child’s health, physical and mental, and life chances, needs either to offer a sensible alternative, or step up and volunteer as a foster parent.

Well, of course, first you have to filter out the propaganda and examine the facts about drug use and its consequences. The policy described might just as well be offering sterilisation to poor people because they have too many kids and can’t bring ’em up nice like rich folk.

12. anonymong

@12 Anonymong

People aren’t rats. What’s your point?

I’ve heard about this lady before, and I recall not having too much trouble about what she does. I personally do not feel that sterilisation is the answer, but it’s worth noting that this is entirely voluntary. I don’t think anybody is suggesting that we sterilise everyone who does things of which we don’t approve. People addicted to drugs go into the scheme through their own choice. If they decide to get sterilised, that is their decision and I respect that.

(There’s a secondary debate, which is whether anyone with a long-term dependency on any narcotic is of good mind to make such life-changing decisions, but that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms that I am not touching right now with a 39 1/2 foot pole…)

15. political_animal

Yes it’s entirely voluntary, IF you ignore the fact that we are talking about addicts who, presumably, when in the grip of addiction, faced with the “choice” of being given a load of cash to be sterilised, are quite likely to think of what they could buy with all that cash to feed their habit, rather than the long-term implications of being sterilised!

It isn’t the answer to anything. What she should be concentrating on, if she really must get involved, is helping the addicts to deal with their addiction, instead of offering a one-off opportunity to prostitute them self by selling their body to the conscience of the religious right.

#14

No, that’s not a “secondary debate”; it’s self-evident to anyone who isn’t the kind of libertarian who can only be found on the internet that most drug addicts are not making a free choice in this case.

Everyone whose liberal guilt leads them to defend heavy use of hard drugs by reference to social conditions…

Dear God, we’re in deepest, darkest The Awful Liberals In My Mind territory here. If anyone can think of a better explanation than “It’s the poverty, stupid” for why the kids of society’s lowest earners are about five million times more likely to become junkies than those of the more fortunate, I’d like to hear it.

Until then, I think it’s safe to treat the link between poverty and hard drug use as a fact, without also pretending that doing so is tantamount to waving pom-poms and singing Go, intravenous drug users! Hooray! because some liberals are guilty that Thomas Jefferson owned slaves, or some other such silly bullshit.

More generally, the Won’t somebody think of the children? gambit is not going to cut much ice if it’s deployed alongside calls for harsher judicial treatment and imprisonment for their parents, resulting in the bairns being taken into care. In fact, I’m not really inclined to listen to WSTotC? from anyone whose proposals can be fairly summarised as “the last forty years of drug war policy, now with extra ineffective Draconianism”.

Yes it’s entirely voluntary.

I didn’t want to put it so crudely, but this would indicate a high correlation between “drug users” and “people who like blowing dirty old men for banknotes”.

All this chat about “responsibility” does rather fall flat when presented with people who are incapable of making objective decisions in their own best interests, as addicts clearly are. I suggest considering how this little sterilisation scheme would go down if the target wasn’t drug users but, say, people with serious mental health problems.

I said “defend”, not “explain”. Nor will I apologise for “thinking of the children”, even if you want to caricature me for it.

So we’re clear this week that the users of this site now have a hierarchy of where it’s best for children to be, given a range of sub-optimal options;

1) Living in poverty with drug addicted parents, which is better than
2) In the local authority care system, which is better than
3) In secure immigration centres with non-drug addicted parents

Any advance?

“people who are incapable of making objective decisions in their own best interests”

So what should be the position of the progressive state when faced with people who are incapable of making decisions in their best interests? Should it be to stand back and see what the brute forces of nature and chance cause to happen to them, or should it be to take on some of the responsibility for shaping the outcomes that they are unable to judge and choose for themselves?

I said “defend”, not “explain”.

I suppose you could say that “recognising the absolute proven fact that heavy drug use and poverty go hand in hand” is the same as “defending” drug users. If you were from Alpha Centauri, had two heads and had never heard of this thing called “logic”.

Still, I doubt anyone would have any difficulties with the government offering addicts long-term forms of contraception as a matter of policy, not least because this is what the NHS currently does. They can’t force contraception on people though, for obvious reasons.

The point at which this becomes an affront is when you have jokers offering drug money to addicts to perform irreversable surgical procedures on them. It may differ in moral terms from paying a heroin addict a twenty for sex, but the basic concept of inducing a person to do something they don’t want to do by exploiting their drug dependency is the same.

“People who are x often do y” is explaining. “If I were x, I would do y” as above, seems to me clearly across the line into defending.

I’m not clear how you think it is consistent to believe that it is enough to make a passive offer of long-term contraception to people who even you don’t believe are capable of making decisions about their wellbeing. “You’re incapable of choosing, you must need more choice!”. I’ve already said I think permanent sterilisation is a step too far, but implants and coils are both almost instantly reversible, if the need arises.

There’s nothing wrong with incentives. We already use plenty of stick, there’s been a notable shortage of public policy carrot. If someone doesn’t want to do something, they probably won’t do it. If someone might or might not do something but keeps putting off thinking about it, can’t really get round to it, has other priorities, something that makes them think about it more decisively is a kindness, not oppression.

23. Matt Munro

@ 1 “my God, that’s absolutely horrific. I couldn’t care less whether it works, it’s wrong. It could solve drug addiction at a stroke and it would still be disgraceful. For shame.”

This is “horrific” – but aborting a healthy foetus is not ? It probably won’t solve the problem – addiction is almost certainly a combination of inherited and environmental factors – but provided its voulantary I can’t see a problem

24. Matt Munro

@ 17 “If anyone can think of a better explanation than “It’s the poverty, stupid” for why the kids of society’s lowest earners are about five million times more likely to become junkies than those of the more fortunate, I’d like to hear it.”

I don’t think it’s quite that straightforward. Drug use is common in the middle classes (visit any thirty-something yuppie bar and witness the obligatory coke queue in the toilets). The issue is what is “addiction” – there is no clinically agreed definition. The social definition, which is the most widely used, is addiction equals the point at which negative externalities from substance use begin to have a serious personal impact – losing jobs/houses/spouses/going to prison etc. In that sense the problem is not the drugs per se, it’s the inability to afford them and/or manage their downside. A toff can be a £500 a day coke head without any real problems, someone on a council estate will get into trouble very quickly with the same habit. From this perspective, poverty is the problem, not addiction

Can’t believe that I agree with MM, but there you go. Addiction is not clinically defined and there’s been a lot of studies about the drug use (heroine) of GIs in the Vietnam war. Heroine is supposed to be the most ‘addictive’ of drugs but it was found that after returning from Nam, the GIs could easily stop, strong case for environmental influence I would say.

Their bodies, their choice. Drug users or not. Make it free, make it easily accessible, educate them on the choices they’re making, fine. But don’t bribe or try to coerce them into doing it.

@Matt Munro: “This is “horrific” – but aborting a healthy foetus is not ?”

Bribing ‘undesirable’ sorts of women to have abortions would be horrific.

Matt Munro

“provided its voulantary I can’t see a problem

This is about as ‘voluntary’ as poor (overwhelmingly black) drug using Americans ‘volunteered to be paid to give blood’ in the ’70s and ’80s, leading to to many of the recipients of that blood contracting HIV and Hepatitis C.

This is about as ‘voluntary’ as poor Africans and Asians selling a kidney to affluent westerners.

It won’t happen here, as I know from working in the field, because Conservative governments are often more liberal on drugs policy than Labour ones who are frightened of being seen “soft on drugs”.

As for abortion, if you want to push that argument I suggest you move to the mid-west States cos you lost it here decades ago.

@ 25

Yeah, it’s easy to stop, like cigarette smokers say “I’ve done it hundreds of time”. But stay off it?

“Groups did not differ in the extent of or reasons for current illicit drug use, but non-Vietnam veterans reported more alcohol use. The Vietnam war was mentioned by one Vietnam veteran and by no non-Vietnam veterans as a reason for continuing narcotic use. Few other differences were found. Notably, typical treatment course over a 5-year follow-up period was similar in the two study groups

In other words Vietnam vets had the same ‘drug careers’ as any other junkie.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/507021

the GIs could easily st

The reason why drug takers are commonly driven to activities like shoplifting and prostitution to fund their habit is because the narcotics are so expensive. The reason they are so expensive is because the state, in it’s wisdom, has made them illegal.

So ler’s not have any phony hand wringing about the plight of drug takers- it is proscripton that has created and continues to propel the cycle of poverty and depravity into which some appear to have fallen.

Barbara Harris should keep her nose out of others lives, but at least the transaction she is funding is voluntary. If the government legalised drugs, there would be no demand for her cash.

>…”She’s the kind of person who, under the Big Society ideology of the Conservatives, might be represented as a worthy provider of a public service.”

Just a touch tenuous? 3 separate assumptions

… kind of person …
… might be …
… represented as a worthy provider …

Any actual real data about the potential link you are trying to get people interested in?

Just asking.

30. anonymong

@ 13/Yurrzem!
“People aren’t rats. What’s your point?”

If we had the balls, we could breed the dregs out of society within a few generations. No more druggies, no more welfare scroungers… A strong, clean, hard-working and wholesome population, striving for the better future that we are all worth — without der untermensch holding us back… What’s not to like?

31. Yurrzem!

“people who are incapable of making objective decisions in their own best interests”

Does this mean just the druggy ones, or all the rest of us? After all, we do seem to happily buy into all the thinking models peddled by government, capitalists and their media servants.

32. Yurrzem!

@30 Anonymong

Dear oh dear! Read some books other than Mein Kampf. Modern human biology books would make a good start, then some stuff about human developmental biology. Then if you still think its safe to make such a claim, be my guest!

30
Yes, tomorrow will be ours, and I wonder if we can breed-in the telepathic powers that all of us aryans have lost aftter breeding-out the culturally learned habits? tosser

34. anonymong

@ 32/Yurrzem!

“Dear oh dear! Read some books other than Mein Kampf. Modern human biology books would make a good start, then some stuff about human developmental biology. Then if you still think its safe to make such a claim, be my guest!”

So you believe that humans are somehow different from other species? We’re not. What goes for rats and foxes goes for us.

But, of course, the left needs the feckless and the weak — whom natural selection would otherwise eliminate — to justify its crusade, doesn’t it? Lose them from our population, and you lose the justification for your world-view. Your vested interest is to ensure the survival of the dregs, to keep your own fallacious politics alive.

35. James Rathbone

……

Yeah…….

I really can’t think of anything to say that won’t get deleted. I hope I was wrong and there is a hell, just so that I can meet this women there.

“Does this mean just the druggy ones, or all the rest of us?”

Dunno, how do you feel about paying people to recycle, or about Education Maintenance Allowance, or about NHS rewards for the dangerously obese losing weight, or…

Yeah, I guess most of us.

@ 28 pagar

“The reason they are so expensive is because the state, in it’s wisdom, has made them illegal

Actually the state made drugs illegal because it was signed up to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs 1961, which made possession/supply of certain drugs illegal.

The Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 was a response to this, and a right dogs dinner it is.

Governments that break this UN Convention, even with modest decriminalisation (not legalisation), like Holland with its “coffee houses” face the full wrath of the UN and other nations, like America and France who take a hardline on drugs.

These diplomatic rows are not to be sniffed at, France initally restricted its Schengen agreement with Holland and Belgium because of Holland’s drugs laws.

Every attempt by a nation at relaxing drug laws had led to ‘drug tourism’, problems and an eventual restriction, or abandonment of the relaxation of the laws.

If you are going to relax drugs laws, never mind ‘legalise’ them it needs international cooperation and agreement, which is not going to happen at the moment.

And, apart from it being a political non-starter,. I’ve never seen a good argument of what ‘legalisation’ means. Heroin and crack available at the corner shop? Or a return to the pre-Misuse of Drugs Act ‘British System”, where GPs could prescribe heroin and cocaine to those dependent on them? Because the latter has enough problems with it, never mind the former.

27
The research you are quoting is based on those on drug programmes, in fact, usage in Nam was far greater than official figures suggest ie those requiring assistance, because so many stopped the heroine usage upon return to the US. Of course, across the GI population, there were different experiences of home-coming, just as there are different social environments in which drug usage takes place ie middle-class cocoaine use compared to the heroine use by (often) the working/underclass, whichever label you choose to use.

39. Matt Munro

@ 30/34 – It’s called “Eugenics” and it has a bad press, and some very dodgy adherents – although lefties often overlook that the socialist republic of er Sweden practiced it until the 1970s – and look what that produced, ABBA.
It’s ethically questionable not because of method or outcome, but because *someone* has to decide who gets to breed and who doesn’t.

Various others – prohibition is a big part of the problem, although making drugs legal doesn’t neccesarily solve it. Alcohol addiction is a far bigger problem than drug addiction by most estimates, although it gets far less press and less in the way of support funding.

@ 38

The (1970s) research of those outside treatment was not as conclusive as you suggest.

It added:

‘In order to gain a more definitive understanding of the career of heroin addiction and its various possible outcomes, we recommend future research be undertaken to:

1. establish the length of recovery so as to be sure that the non-addictive state is not short term or temporary;

2. explore the possibility of controlled use after addiction-it may be that ex-addicts can resort to a more controlled pattern of drug use rather than strict abstinence as recent findings on recovered addicts (Harding et al., 1978) and recovered alcoholics has shown (Tuckfeld, 1976; Armour et al., 1976);

3. discover the extent that individuals substitute other drugs for heroin-most particularly alcohol and barbiturates as they are much more dangerous than opiates;

4. determine the characteristics and resources of persons who recover naturally and compare them with their treated counterparts and the larger populations, and lastly

5. learn what are the actual processes of recovery for both treated and untreated addicts-what initiated the attempt to recover, how the individuals cope and what kind of interpersonal, familiaI and community support are utilized.

and that was over 30 years ago.

There has been half a ton of research since then.

It added:

41. Yurrzem!

@34 Anomamoron

Humans are complex social animals. Where is nature and where is nurture in the cause-and-effect of drug addiction?

Almost every claim to have found a “gene for” something have proven wrong. You can’t breed out socialised problems, you have to change the social context that leads to them

You oversimplify greatly, which may suit your tiny mind, but it does you no credit.

42. Flowerpower

She’s the kind of person who, under the Big Society ideology of the Conservatives, might be represented as a worthy provider of a public service.

Not a chance. You lefties will stoop to any unwarranted smear or innuendo, won’t you?

This kind of stuff smacks of 21st century Hitler tactics, and is no less that horrendous on its face, let alone digging any deeper.

Taking advantage of chemically dependent people who have problems with reasoning, self-esteem, judgment, and other factors by using money for the bribery is sickening.

You and I know damn well that the money is going toward more drugs, and will further damage their mental health.

I can agree with mechanical measures that can be reversed, but permanent sterilization is gruesome, and inhuman, especially when applied to people who can’t help they turned out to be addicts.

No one that I have ever known wanted to grow up to be a junkie. I am a recovering addict who was addicted to heroin for 36 years, and also a substance abuse counselor, as well as a paralegal, and now writer. I also spent 20 years in prison, and wrote a book, (not published yet), but I have never run across a successful enthusiastic drug addict.

I’ve been in recovery since 2004.

This idea of sterilization, at least permanent ones, belongs in the archives right next to Hitler’s ideas, and actions.

44. Matt Munro

@41 “Almost every claim to have found a “gene for” something have proven wrong. You can’t breed out socialised problems, you have to change the social context that leads to them

You oversimplify greatly, which may suit your tiny mind, but it does you no credit”.

Unfortunately the media are not good at scientific reporting and tend to simplify it to the point of absurdity. The idea of a gene for this or that is misleading, genes act in concert with each other (and with the environment in some circumstances) to create behaviours.
I think you are also oversimplifying somewhat by suggesting that addictive behaviour has no genetic basis, which it clearly does. In fact the poverty “cause” can be explained in gentic terms – addictive parents tend to be poor, so their kids grow up poor, and become addicts, prima facie a social cause, but they have their parents genes.
I’ve heard this “we are complex social animals” arguments from lefties before, yes we are but, so are apes, ants and rats, so we live in groups, so what ? it’s meaningless obsurfcation, we are primarily biological entities.

45. Not Lord Lucan, Or Jesus for that matter

sterilize absolutely everyone and save the planet

It’s not really a moral problem in the way a lot of the commenters think it’s a moral problem.

Promoting sterilisation on the NHS amongst people who are at risk of unwanted pregnancy through prostitution, abusive relationships etc (such as drug addicts) is something that the government ought to be doing. It’s obviously beneficial with no downsides.

This moral clarity basically dissipates the moment you start offering money to drug addicts, as if they’re in a position to make a rational choice. It’s exploitation, plain and simple.

It should also be said that the idea of a ‘social entrepreneur’ is the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. I’ve never read about one who wasn’t either a rich dilettante, or propped up by private donations (also known as ‘a charity’).

47. anonymong

@ 39/Matt Munro

“@ 30/34 – It’s called “Eugenics” and it has a bad press, and some very dodgy adherents – although lefties often overlook that the socialist republic of er Sweden practiced it until the 1970s – and look what that produced, ABBA.
It’s ethically questionable not because of method or outcome, but because *someone* has to decide who gets to breed and who doesn’t.”

Absolutely correct. And I really would suggest that those rising to my very gentle trolling do a quick Google on the term ‘fabian eugenics’ to discover who it was/is that has been very much in favour of such morally dubious practices.

48. Matt Munro

@ 47 I seem to be the only one that spotted the wind up

Wait, so this example can’t be used to criticise ‘Big Society’ rhetoric because the Fabian society liked eugenics a hundred years ago?

Are you sure this is the argument you want to rely on? You must admit, it’s a tad wanting.

I’ve lost the track of this debate, – MM taking certain substances to create a psychotropic affect has a long history but what, how and why is culturally/socially influenced, whether or not there is some genetic imput, For example alcohol tends to disinhibit behaviour in large amounts, as we see on most Friday and Saturday nights in town centres, usually for leisure and apparantly okay because it’s legal and socially acceptable. But the same affect can be used to provide confidence on a daily basis, that’s not okay but it’s the same substance giving the same affect but in socially different circumstances. Certain substances provided in prescription drugs are okay but not when they are bought illegally from a drug dealer.
47
To it’s shame, Fabian socialism did favour eugenics, but after seeing the effect of such thinking in Nazi Germany there are few socialists who would favour it as a policy. Humans are able to adopt a moral code, unlike foxes and rats, even if some of the biology is similar. And the notion that nature would get rid of the feckless and weak is total b;;;;;;;ks, if it was the case, most of our royal family wouldn’t be here, the reason they are is culturally determined.

And while your at it, why don’t you pay the mother’s mother as well, so she won’t pass on any more of her genes with the rodents impregnating her?

Offering $300 to a drug addict for sterilization isn’t much different than having them walk into the “showers” of Nazi Germany to get cleaned up.

If you think you can breed out a “social” problem, that is based on a number of factors, or even have a slight impact on one, you’re deluded.

People have been getting high on this planet since the earth cooled, and at present there are some 23 million Americans with a drug problem including the affluent, middle-class, and poor.

But according to your philosophy you wouldn’t have a problem microwaving the testicles of the Marcus Welby, MD’s, or the ovaries of the Ayn Rand’s of the world, let alone the so-called Big Three labor workers, and poverty stricken people when they have drug problems.

Miss Harris, you need to be sterilized for creating, and applying what amounts to the biological equivalent of Occam’s Razor to this problem, but your simple explanation, and solution ignores that human beings are involved here who can’t make rational choices very often, if at all.

Just think, given enough selective breeding *everyone* could be just like Matt Munro. I, for one, enthusiastically await our webbed-toed future.

53. Nick Cohen is a Tory

The Nazis said there mental health euthanisia was voluntary. True it was their parents who did the volunteering.
This really concerns me because it fits into the left / right view of a “pure” society.
Everyone living in a semi detached reading the Times, only drinking one glass of wine a day.
The one good thing about people in Shameless series was their pride in their own way of life, however repugant it is to the majority

54. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Matt
A strange genetic argument about poverty.
Most of the population of the middle ages were peasants, using your addictive argument the majority of our present population should be exactly the same.
Genetic change is dependent on the number of generations. There has been a comparatively few generational changes in man for the last 2000 years compared to other species.
As for the big society idea.
two points
1. It is dependent on volunteers running schools etc. Not been cruel but won’t be most of these the unem-ployed , the bored (house wives or the retired), the incompetent (real people have jobs, which in reality should take most of energy, the fanatic (fundamemtalist religious , leftist, fascist and libertatrian types)
Do you really want them running your public services.
2. Isn’t it really the idea of a government running away from responsiblity. The very thing we are trying to teach our kids not to do

55. the a&e charge nurse

[17] “It’s the poverty, stupid” – I would like to pick up on this claim.

First of all it goes without saying that the VAST MAJORITY of those in poverty do not become addicted to heroin, or indeed any other, so called, ‘hard drugs’ – so I think it is almost impossible to blame poverty, alone?

Additionally, drug taking needs to be worked on diligently before full ‘addict’ status is finally awarded – addicts are not born overnight, so in this sense it might be argued that the road to problematic and self-destructive drug use provides any budding addict with a number of opportunities along that road to make different choices, albeit choices that are likely to be curtailed by a dysfunctional family background and only limited engagement with the educational system?

To my mind one of the central questions relating to various forms of drug use is whether or not we should MEDICALISE such behaviour, or instead regard it from an existential perspective (leaving aside the many physical problems that do arise such as blood born viruses, abscesses, cellulitis, thrombo-embolisms, endocarditis, not to mention the odd cardiac arrest, or cocaine induced acute coronary syndrome, etc, etc).

To offer a parallel example, supposing a serial a car thief was said to be suffering from some form of compulsive disorder or some type of addiction, as some medical authorities have suggested (perhaps couched in terms of personality disorder and so on) – wouldn’t it make sense to offer such offenders a state sponsored vehicle in just the same way a heroin addict is prescribed methadone to reduce risk to him/herself and indeed those family homes that would otherwise be burgled to feed the habit?

As to the question of sponsored sterilisation – we all know it will have virtually no effect if we look at the burgeoning propensity for drug use compared to the population of addicts desperate enough to do almost anything for their next few bob?
Mind you, if somebody is crazy enough to do such a thing then it does rather beg the question as to their suitability as a prospective parent, one of the hardest jobs anybody can undertake, even in relatively favourable circumstances?

56. Nick Cohen is a Tory

Can I ask
Does this sterlisation offer open to middle class drug takers such as university students.
Does it include city workers wacked out on cocaine
Does it include celebrities, that would be nearly all of them
Does it include Amazonian Indians on raw cocaine

As for it being ‘voluntary’, that doesn’t seem to mean that “no salesmen will call”:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/glasgow_and_west/10143746.stm

If you go to these clowns’ website, you’ll find that their board contains at least two ‘reverends’, a retired cop and a talk radio DJ.

Oh, and they also claim that “Project Prevention does not have the resources to combat the national problems of poverty, housing, nutrition, education and rehabilitation services.” So they treat symptoms rather than causes and target the poor for their ‘services’.

Sterilisation available on the NHS for free? Maybe, but in my experience you have to jump through hoops to get it.

59. the a&e charge nurse

[58] “Sterilisation available on the NHS for free? Maybe, but in my experience you have to jump through hoops to get it” – what?

The NHS performs more vasectomies than almost other health systems in the world.
This item claims that 16% of ALL men (under the age of 70) have had the snip in the UK – now that’s a lot of balls, surely?
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/7948690.stm

Random question in all of this – why is permanent sterilisation being advocated? I could see a case for offering drug users implants to ensure temporary sterilisation – I’d even go as far to say that it is a good idea (just because a drug addict may be a good parent does not mean that the environment is good far a child). But permanent? Seems wrong to me, as addiction need not be for ever.


Reactions: Twitter, blogs
  1. Aosher

    Does playing drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/amR7jj from @libcon <– ew

  2. Nicola

    RT @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq

  3. Aosher

    Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/amR7jj from @libcon <– ew

  4. Sarah Ditum

    By me for @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq (on Project Prevention)

  5. Dave Weeden

    RT @sarahditum: By me for @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq (on Project Prevention)

  6. hilary

    RT: @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq // It's just wrong #saynotoprojectprevention

  7. Red Maria

    Eugenics. It never really went away, you know RT @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq

  8. Lifeline

    'Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work?' | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/d1kqg3

  9. Left Outside

    RT @libcon Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/a5V2TN

  10. Rachael Wardell

    RT @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq Extraordinary. Unpleasant. Unneccessary. Just say no!

  11. Matthew Lloyd

    » Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/bHumUQ

  12. Euan Lawson

    If it 'works' is irrelevant when immoral RT @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq

  13. Liberal Conspiracy

    Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq

  14. Tweets that mention » Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? | Liberal Conspiracy -- Topsy.com

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Liberal Conspiracy, Nicola and Aosher, Aosher. Aosher said: Does playing drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/amR7jj from @libcon <– ew […]

  15. HERO DAD!

    Sarah Ditum's measured, masterful takedown of Project Prevention – "Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work?" http://bit.ly/9i7bbq

  16. Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? « Paperhouse

    […] 0 Cross-posted to Liberal Conspiracy. […]

  17. Adam Edvalson

    » Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? | Liberal Conspiracy http://bit.ly/cRBgyK

  18. socialworkuk

    RT @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq

  19. earwicga

    RT @libcon Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/a5V2TN < Yes.

  20. piombo

    RT @sarahditum "By me for @libcon: Does paying drug addicts to be sterilised work? http://bit.ly/9i7bbq (on Project Prevention)"

  21. Release Drugs

    Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  22. Drug worker

    @release_drugs Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention

  23. TalkingDrugs

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  24. Cal Ward

    RT @UKdrugworker: @release_drugs Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention

  25. Chloe Howard

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  26. Richard Ashcroft

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  27. The Curator

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  28. sdv_duras

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  29. Dr Petra Boynton

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  30. Mary

    Dear @BlessedBarbara, Please peruse this at your leisure http://bit.ly/do8GUC and get back to me. Regards, Ms. K. #saynotoprojectprevention

  31. Alan Henness

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  32. sawherry

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectprevention #humanrights

  33. jimbobthomas

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectp …

  34. Matthew Greenall

    RT @Release_drugs: Another well written opinion on why we don't want Project Prevention in the UK. http://bit.ly/do8GUC #saynotoprojectp …

  35. More on Project Prevention « Cubik’s Rube

    […] writerJames The Liberal Conspiracy website has a better-informed and more thorough discussion of Project Prevention than I managed a few days ago. It’s increasingly clear that this is an organisation driven by […]

  36. Liberal Conspiracy

    @gwenhwyfaer we wrote about it on LC earlier this week here: http://bit.ly/amR7jj

  37. sunny hundal

    @mrcivlib we published something about that stupid project by @sarahditum on LC here: http://bit.ly/9i7bbq





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