heroinaddictA British citizen has become the first person in that country to accept money to be sterilized by a controversial U.S. charity, Project Prevention, founded by Barbara Harris reported the Mail October 23, 2010.

Her organization offers drug addicts cash in exchange for sterilization.

Alan Mitchell, 40, has battled heroin addiction for 16 years, and been in a methadone clinic for the past 18 months without using any heroin on the side. However, he has experienced more than his share of ups, and downs in drug treatment attempts, and failed every time.

Down on his luck, unable to find work, criminal record, and everything that goes with years of being a drug addict, along comes Barbara Harris of Project Prevention offering Alan £200 to be “snipped” so he won’t spread his genes around, and have children to burden society. A vasectomy was performed, and Alan was on his way to becoming £200 poorer.

“Poorer?” you might ask. Yes, poorer. His self-esteem has already been trampled on because it’s been residing under the soles of his shoes for years, and this would appear to only make matters worse emotionally, and psychologically for the dude. Self-talk, I’m not fit, I’m no good to have kids, I’ll never amount to nothing. Yeah, go ahead, snip me, carve the very essence of life out of me, not by choice, but by bribery.

Harris’ organization “…has paid 3,500 addicts – mostly women – to be sterilised in the U.S. and brought its crusade to Britain after receiving a £12,500 donation from an anonymous businessman,” according to Mail Online in the U.K.

Alan says it was easy money, and had already decided to not have children, then went on to say drug addicts would well their soul for £200. And that is the part that just seems gruesome, and leaning so hard toward “bribe,” it’s difficult to think otherwise if you were in the substance abuse treatment field. Even some of these folks agree with Harris’ tactics.

Many people in the the U.S. applaud Barbara Harris’ work, sending her money, and saying she is doing a service to society, and the addict. Others believe Alan, and those who took money to be sterilized were exploited, that what is being offered, and performed is morally indefensible, right up there with Hitler’s “Jewish Question,” a Nazi eugenics program that wiped out millions.

It also harkens back to the 1920’s when brain images were taken trying to associate them with criminal behavior, a theory named biological determinism. The idea pointed to heredity causing our social problems, rather than education, or lack thereof, and the environment as parts of the equation also. Those who supported eugenics at the time wanted to sterilize criminals, mentally retarded people, and folks who were thought of as being misfits. Unfortunately, two thirds of Americans were in favor of such methods.

Project Prevention’s Mission Statement:
Project Prevention offers cash incentives to women and men addicted to drugs and/or alcohol to use long term or permanent birth control. Project Prevention is a National, 501 © 3 organization using your donations to stop a problem before it happens. We have paid addicts in 50 States and the District of Columbia.

Our mission is to continue to reach out to addicts offering referrals to drug treatment for those interested and to get them on birth control until they can care for the children they conceive. We are lowering the number of children added to foster care, preventing the addicts from the guilt and pain they feel each time they give birth only to have their child taken away, and preventing suffering of innocent children because even those fortunate enough to be born with no medical or emotional problems after placed in foster care face often a lifetime of longing to feel loved and wanted. (From PP’s website)

What makes this story so compelling is that Alan may be emotinally, and psychologically incapable of making a decision like that absent his drug addiction.

“Doctors have recently debated whether he is schizophrenic or bi-polar (what used to be called a manic depressive). His brother thinks he has Attention Deficit Disorder,” reported the Mail Online. Along with drug addiction, many addicts have comorbid mental health issues as well.

Alan says he was a bright kid, but had a very vivid imagination. Says he used to see ghosts, and hear voices talking to him. Once, he said the cat was talking to him and he talked back to it.

Of course, this is a veritable “walking on eggs” issue, and polarizes people just as fiercely as abortion does, which in effect is exactly what this might be, but a pre-emptive form.

The drug addcits that have supported the organizations efforts and mission statement are caught up as well in this madness. There are other more humane ways to deal with this situation. Barbara Harris’ method is not one of them.

Do you believe this is a moral, and even legal method to be offered for drug addicts?

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