Tag: law enforcement

Bioethics Blogs

Ethical Implications of Victim Blaming in Cases of Police Brutality

STUDENT VOICES 

By Emily Jenab, M.A.

Another black man has been shot and, subsequently, another case of character assassination post-death has begun.  Alfred Okwera Olango, 38, was killed as he pulled out “a three inch long vape” and allegedly pointed it at the police of El Cajun, California. The shooting of Olango, an “emotionally disturbed” man who was shot after his sister called 911 for help, has already resulted in justifications of why he deserved to die. Yes, he was holding a vape, but why did it look like a gun? Why was he standing like that? Why did he hold his vaporizer between his hands? Efforts to legitimize another murder, and state implicated violence, will be taken. The cycle repeats and ethical and emotional discussions surrounding these murders, along with the issues embedded in police systems, will continue to be ignored.

Respectability politics are pertinent for people of color, and for marginalized persons, the respectability of their very identity is questioned when they are victims of police misconducts. There is, for our cultural purposes, no “good” black man; if he is unarmed, as Eric Garner was, he still deserves to die and his murderer will not be charged. If he is armed in an open carry state, as Philando Castle was, it is asked why he even had a gun, or what he was doing prior to being pulled over. These men – employed, fathers, worthwhile members of their communities – are reduced to “thugs” in the wake of their deaths.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

How the Nation’s Opioid Epidemic Is Morphing — and Growing

The nation’s opioid epidemic shows no signs of abating—and in fact may be headed in a far more dangerous direction. That’s the conclusion of journalist David Armstrong, who has been chronicling the scourge this year for STAT, a new health and medicine website. Armstrong has written about how heroin and, increasingly, fentanyl have overtaken narcotic painkillers as the drugs of choice for addicts — presenting new challenges for law enforcement and health professionals

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

Why Superpotent Synthetic Opioids Are ‘Crazy Dangerous’ DEA Says

September 27, 2016

(ABC News) – As the opioid epidemic has continued to grow in multiple parts of the country, extremely potent synthetic forms of the painkillers — especially fentanyl and carfentanil — have become more common among everyday users, according to U.S. authorities. Last week, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) issued a public warning to law enforcement about the safety risks of taking or interacting with synthetic opioids, especially carfentanil and fentanyl. The agency warned the drugs can be deadly, even in very low quantities.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Considering ethics now before radically new brain technologies get away from us

Now’s the time to think about what we’re getting into with neurotechnologies. Brain image via www.shutterstock.com.

Imagine infusing thousands of wireless devices into your brain, and using them to both monitor its activity and directly influence its actions. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, and for the moment it still is – but possibly not for long.

Brain research is on a roll at the moment. And as it converges with advances in science and technology more broadly, it’s transforming what we are likely to be able to achieve in the near future.

Spurring the field on is the promise of more effective treatments for debilitating neurological and psychological disorders such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease and depression. But new brain technologies will increasingly have the potential to alter how someone thinks, feels, behaves and even perceives themselves and others around them – and not necessarily in ways that are within their control or with their consent.

This is where things begin to get ethically uncomfortable.

Because of concerns like these, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) are cohosting a meeting of experts this week on responsible innovation in brain science.

Berkeley’s ‘neural dust’ sensors are one of the latest neurotech advances.

Where are neurotechnologies now?

Brain research is intimately entwined with advances in the “neurotechnologies” that not only help us study the brain’s inner workings, but also transform the ways we can interact with and influence it.

For example, researchers at the University of California Berkeley recently published the first in-animal trials of what they called “neural dust” – implanted millimeter-sized sensors.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Cross Post: We have a moral obligation to allow drug analysis at music festivals

This article was originally published in The Conversation

Written by Julian Savulescu Sir Louis Matheson Distinguishing Visiting Professor at Monash University,

Uehiro Professor of Practical Ethics, University of Oxford

Connor Rochford Medical Student, Monash University

Daniel D’Hotman Medical Student, Monash University

Drug analysis would be a safe, ethical and cost-effective way to reduce harm to young people. Shutterstock

At the Stereosonic festival last year, Sylvia Choi died after consuming a contaminated ecstasy tablet. Unfortunately Sylvia’s narrative is all too familiar – a bright future extinguished at a music festival that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.

This summer, many young people will also choose to consume various illegal substances in pursuit of a good time. Regardless of their personal choice to break the law, most would agree that they should not have to die for it.

We have a moral obligation to minimise the risk of harm to festival-goers or “festies”. Health professionals have the technology to act on this moral imperative – drug testing. What they don’t have is permission from our politicians and law enforcement agencies. The truth is there needn’t be more tragedies like Sylvia’s: her death may have been prevented if evidence-based drug-testing facilities had been in place.

Australian politicians have typically endorsed a deterrence-based approach to drug use at music festivals, with a strong police presence and drug dogs to catch offenders. Although deterrence methods are undoubtedly well-intentioned, evidence suggests that they are ineffective at protecting Australians from the harmful effects of contaminated substances. In fact, some evidence shows that drug dogs may actually increase harm, as frightened festival-goers hastily consume large quantities of drugs to avoid detection.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Identity Crisis: The Unintended Consequence of Deep Brain Stimulation

By Alec Shannon

This post was written as part of a class assignment from students who took a neuroethics course with Dr. Rommelfanger in Paris of Summer 2016.

Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Alec Shannon is a rising third year student at Emory University where he is majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and minoring in French Studies. On campus, he serves as the president of the French Club and vice president of the Emory Undergraduate Medical Review. During the school year, he also dedicates his time playing for the tennis club and projects with Volunteer Emory. He currently works in a movement disorders lab in Emory’s Department of Pharmacology and plans on pursuing a career in medicine.

This summer’s Neuroethics Network Session facilitated a cross-disciplinary conversation on complex questions that the field of neuroscience will be forced to answer in the near future. Although some issues in neuroethics might appear purely speculative, the rapid advancement of technology emerging from neuroscience will require policy-makers to preemptively govern its development. The consequences of these regulations will resonate throughout society and determine how neuroscience will be integrated into professional fields ranging from law enforcement to psychiatry. Individual lectures from experts in these fields explored the ethics of emerging technologies and analyzed how they align with our shared values of society.

Although the lectures presented during the conference covered a broad range of topics from cognitive enhancement to artificial intelligence, core philosophical arguments emerged during these talks that united the different topics under some common themes.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Hospitals Should Think Before Performing Searches for Law Enforcement

In 2012, a Jane Doe suspected of transporting drugs was detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents without a warrant, and brought to University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas. Medical Center personnel — under the direction of … Continue reading

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

A Cure for “Catch-All” Emergency Rooms

September 7, 2016

(The Atlantic) – Despite the many drawbacks to ER visits, law enforcement often has nowhere else to house people who are clearly experiencing mental-health crises but are not a danger to themselves or others. The emergency room, said Alamosa County Sheriff Robert Jackson, is “our catch-all.” Police here have few other options. The county jail is overcrowded, and just two officers in Alamosa have been trained in crisis intervention, which teaches officers to de-escalate situations involving people in mental-health crisis. Alamosa, a town of 10,000 people that serves as a hub for those seeking social services throughout Colorado’s isolated San Luis Valley, has just nine beds in its ER.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics Blogs

Special Issue! Practical Anthropology for a Global Public Psychiatry by Anna Zogas

A very exciting special issue of Transcultural Psychiatry has just been published: Practical Anthropology for a Global Public Psychiatry: Provocations and Future Directions is edited by Neely Myers, Rebecca Lester, and Kim Hopper. Here are the abstracts!

Reflections on the anthropology of public psychiatry: The potential and limitations of transdisciplinary work
Neely Myers, Rebecca Lester, and Kim Hopper 

Transcultural psychiatry and anthropology have long championed the comparative study of emotional distress to better understand how people experience, interpret, and manage extraordinary mental events and emotional quandaries around the globe. This special issue brings together practitioners, scholars, and experts from both disciplines working at the intersections of the community and the clinic, the personal and the social, the local and the global, to ask: where does this effort currently stand? We hope this collection of articles will serve as a bellwether selection of provocations and future directions for transdisciplinary research in psychiatric anthropology.

Much research on the mental health system in the US, at least, skirts the sprawling, fragmented, poorly mapped terrain of “de facto” services—a motley array of institutional arrangements claiming to offer custody and care, such as jails, prisons, detention facilities, residential institutions for teenagers, homeless shelters, and a variety of quasi-institutions for the deaf, blind, and elderly. Rather than avoiding these settings, the researchers contributing to this issue reflect on the challenging work of engaging intimately with interlocutors living with these conditions. We use the term “public psychiatry” to refer to this ad hoc, patch-worked, and ill-monitored system. Unlike “public health,” as we use the term here, public psychiatry encompasses not populations but structures: state, private, and informal configurations of care, the surrogates of care and the default options offered when care is unavailing.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.

Bioethics News

A Dramatic Surge in Fentanyl Cases Fuels Opioid Epidemic

August 25, 2016

(CNN) – As the nation struggles with an epidemic that includes both prescription opioids and heroin, officials are alarmed by a new front in the war against opioids: illicit fentanyl. Law enforcement agencies submit drug products to the Drug Enforcement Administration for testing. From 2013 to 2014, 426% more products tested positive for fentanyl, according to new numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the same time period, deaths from synthetic opioids increased by 79%.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.