The NAOMI Patients Association (NPA) have been discussing the benefits and ethical problems of their participation in NAOMI, a heroin-assisted therapy study. They have published a report on their discussions and found: having access to heroin-assisted treatment changed their lives — but the study’s sudden termination left them all reeling.
When NAOMI received ethical approval from UBC, the Université de Montreal, the University of Toronto and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the decision was not made lightly. The idea of NAOMI was first conceived in 1998 and it took seven years for the researchers to jump through all the necessary legal, ethical and logistical hoops.
“We were asked many questions,” says Dr. Martin Schechter, NAOMI’s principal investigator and a professor and director at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health. “One of the fundamental questions was of course whether we would be able to offer the therapy at the end of the trial. Those kinds of decisions were in the hands of the health policy makers, not the researchers. We were committed to helping convince them, but we could not guarantee that, and that was made clear in the consent form.”
The Tyee, Wed May 23 2012, By: Candice Vallantin, Link to full text