‘Rooted in eugenics’: Canada plans assisted suicide expansion for drug-addicted persons

Akin to the brand of eugenics promulgated by Margaret Sanger and her well-heeled contemporaries at the turn of the last century, Canada now plans to expand its medical aid in dying (MAID) program in 2024 to include people afflicted with drug addiction.

The program is used in Canada to facilitate assisted suicide or euthanasia for persons with a  grievous and irremediable medical condition.’ Such conditions have been interpreted broadly and there is no longer a guardrail requiring candidates to be terminally ill.  Starting next year, a physical ailment will no longer be necessary either. Expansion to those with mental illness was delayed for one year, but is due to begin in March 2024. Mental illness caused by substance abuse will also be eligible for MAID by extension.  

According to Kevin Yuill, former professor of American Studies at the University of Sunderland in the UK,In the eight years since MAID was legalised for the terminally ill, it has been expanded to disabled people, homeless people and prisoners. And soon drug addicts will be next.”

In preparation, the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine in British Columbia discussed at its annual conference last week, a rubric for assessing patients for MAID. Dr. David Martell, one of the most vocal proponents, predicted that the expected surge of applicants in March with drug addiction could be “triaged properly” with enough thoughtfulness.

READ: ‘Faces of MAID’ social media campaign opposes Canada’s euthanasia program

“I don’t think it’s fair… to exclude people from eligibility because their medical disorder or their suffering is related to a mental illness,” Dr. Martell explained to VICE News

According to the discussion, doctors would need to do the near impossible task of distinguishing from those persons who had a reasoned wish to die versus those who are suicidal — a distinction likely to be glossed over in a Canadian treatment system overflowing with opioid-addicted patients and limited resources. 

Assessing someone for consent is also impossible when that person is inebriated or intent on self-harm. Consider the sad Substack post of a son, formerly indifferent to MAID, who then watched his father killed by doctor “Death.”

Not everyone agrees with Dr. Martell. Harm reduction advocate, Zoë Dodd, echoed other critics when she told VICE News: “I just think that MAID when it has entered the area around mental health and substance use is really rooted in eugenics.”

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