Funder: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Project period: 09/20/2005 - 07/31/2008
Grant Type: Research
Investigators studying illicit Drug use and related HIV risk face unique ethical challenges. Intoxication, long term Drug use, or advanced stages of HIV/AIDS can impair consent capacity. Involvement in criminal activities to purchase Drugs and diagnosis of HIV/AIDS make ong>Participantong>s especially vulnerable to breaches in confidentiality that may result in criminal prosecution, social stigmatization, or loss of employment. The need for money to purchase Drugs or ethnic and economic health disparities may heighten susceptibility to coercion from cash or treatment compensation for Research participation. ong>Participantong>s in RCT designs may suffer withdrawal symptoms during detoxification or side effects when experimental treatments interact with street Drugs. Dissemination of Research results may further stigmatize or sustain societal prejudices against historically oppressed groups. Through focus groups, in-depth interviews, and structured interview surveys, this Research aims to explore the hopes, values, and fears that multiply vulnerable illicit Drug users bring to Research Ethics practices. This collaborative project uniting the strengths of the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education and the community based substance abuse and HIV/AIDS experience of the Hispanic Health Council, will examine in both depth and breath the attitudes of street Drug users towards Research risks and benefits, informed consent, confidentiality, and use of incentives in Research on the epidemiology, social correlates, and treatments for Drug abuse and HIV related risks. How gender and ethnicity influence these attitudes will also be examined. Long-term goals of this project are to identify ethical concerns among economically disadvantaged, ethnically diverse illicit street Drug users that will inform and enhance Drug use and HIV risk Research in ways that reflect the values and merit the trust of ong>Participantong>s.