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The Ethics of Paying Drug Users Who Participate in Research: A Review and Practical Recommendations

Craig L. Fry, Wayne Hall, Alison Ritter and Rebecca Jenkinson
Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics: An International Journal
Vol. 1, No. 4 (December 2006), pp. 21-36
Published by: Sage Publications, Inc.
DOI: 10.1525/jer.2006.1.4.21
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/jer.2006.1.4.21
Page Count: 16
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The Ethics of Paying Drug Users Who Participate in Research: A Review and Practical Recommendations
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Abstract

THE PAYMENT OF RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS raises ethical and empirical questions that have special importance in addictions research involving drugdependent participants. Despite a now large literature on human subjects payment, what is still needed is practical guidance for investigators and ethics committees. This paper reviews the literature on: current payment practices and guidelines; defining features of undue and due incentives and fair reimbursement; and the significance of risks and harms that may arise from paying drug using participants. We conclude that research payments are ethically acceptable in most circumstances of addictions research, but should be closely scrutinized in situations where these may exacerbate existing harms or create additional risks for participants and investigators. General principles, key questions and procedural options are highlighted for an applied approach to ethical research payments. Future research directions are identified.

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