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Monday, August 24, 2015

Detox or lose your benefits

New welfare proposals are based on bad evidence and worse ethics

Ian Hamilton
The Conversation
Originally posted August 3, 2015

When is a choice not really a choice? It could be argued that the latest proposal from the government aimed at people who have problems with drugs and alcohol is not a choice but an ultimatum – accept help for your problem or lose your right to welfare benefits.

This proposal raises some very serious issues. Treating any condition is based on consent – the person should be willing to have the treatment. In this case, people have little choice and therefore they would probably be consenting to treatment to avoid losing money. This also passes on an ethical dilemma to treatment staff, who would need to decide if they are willing to participate in state-sponsored coercion.

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