Law & Ethics of Drug Addiction Genetics Research (LEDGER)

Hastings InvestigatorKaren J. Maschke

Funder: National Institute of Drug Abuse

This project examined and elucidated the ethical, legal, and social implications of genetic information about drug addiction and the use of this information in the criminal justice system. The use of this information raises many questions: What is the potential for misinterpretation or misuse? To what extent should genetic information help determine which criminal offenders to test for drug use and to subject to drug treatment? Who should have access to this information? What legal protections exist to safeguard individual privacy and help assure that the information is used responsibly? The project included focus groups and a survey of criminal justice professionals regarding their knowledge and use of information on drug addiction science; an advisory panel and conference; and educational resources and reference materials for people interested in this issue, including drug addiction and/or genetic researchers, institutional review boards, drug treatment professionals, and criminal justice officials.