Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ethical dilemmas of providing care in drug detention centers

Date:
November 10, 2010
Source:
The Hastings Center
Summary:
Organizations that seek to provide health care, food, and other services to people held in drug detention centers in developing countries often face ethical dilemmas: Are they doing more good than harm? Are they helping detainees or legitimizing a corrupt system and ultimately building its capacity to detain and abuse more people?

Organizations that seek to provide health care, food, and other services to people held in drug detention centers in developing countries often face ethical dilemmas: Are they doing more good than harm? Are they helping detainees or legitimizing a corrupt system and ultimately building its capacity to detain and abuse more people?

Such dilemmas are explored in an article coauthored by Nancy Berlinger and Michael Gusmano, research scholars at The Hastings Center, along with Roxanne Saucier and Daniel Wolfe of the Open Society Institute, and Nicholas Thomson of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The article appears in the current issue of the International Journal of Prisoner Health.

The article focuses on the drug detention centers that have proliferated over the last decade in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and other parts of Asia. Although the centers say that they provide drug treatment and rehabilitation, in reality people inside receive no effective drug treatment, little medical care, and insufficient food. Indeed, they are more likely to face what amounts to torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Unlike prisons, detention centers have no judicial process or right of appeal. More than 400,000 people are detained each year.

Some nongovernmental organizations attempt to provide care and services to the detainees, but center administrators and their governments sometimes seek these relationships to legitimatize the detention centers. "In 2008, many were alarmed when a large U.S.-funded health organization sent an announcement saying that they were going to help make a notoriously abusive drug detention center in Cambodia a 'Center for Excellence,'" the authors write. "This same center was widely viewed by most health and human rights organizations as beyond redemption."

The goal of providing health services to detainees is ethically sound, the article says. However, it presents an ethical dilemma -- a situation in which no option is clearly right, and that can be resolved only by determining which option is less wrong than others under particular circumstances. "It would be incorrect to assume that doing something in this setting -- in this case, undertaking health-related goals -- is better than doing 'nothing,'" the authors write. Doing nothing may be preferable if engaging with drug detention centers amounts to what the authors call a "rotten compromise."

They conclude that leaders of health-related organizations should evaluate how their programs can promote health in drug detention centers, and also how or whether their work might make conditions much worse. Given that health-related resources are limited, the authors suggest that the leaders ask themselves, "might the resources in this instance be better served by efforts to keep individuals out of detention centers in the first instance?"


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by The Hastings Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

The Hastings Center. "Ethical dilemmas of providing care in drug detention centers." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110123951.htm>.
The Hastings Center. (2010, November 10). Ethical dilemmas of providing care in drug detention centers. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110123951.htm
The Hastings Center. "Ethical dilemmas of providing care in drug detention centers." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101110123951.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

Obama: 8 Million Healthcare Signups

AP (Apr. 17, 2014) President Barack Obama gave a briefing Thursday announcing 8 million people have signed up under the Affordable Care Act. He blasted continued Republican efforts to repeal the law. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Is Apathy A Sign Of A Shrinking Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 17, 2014) A recent study links apathetic feelings to a smaller brain. Researchers say the results indicate a need for apathy screening for at-risk seniors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins