Canada is reportedly poised to legalize medically assisted dying for people who are addicted to drugs, while some worry that the country has gone “t00 far.”
Canada is planning to expand its medical assistance in dying (MAID) law this spring to include people whose sole medical condition is mental illness, which also covers those who have a substance use disorder, according to a report by the Toronto Star.
But before the expansion goes into effect this March, a special parliamentary committee on MAID will get together to scrutinize the new law.
Currently, people are eligible for MAID if they have a serious disability or illness causing them to live in an advanced state of irreversible decline and enduring physical or psychological suffering — except for those who have mental illness.
Right now, a “cohort of Canadians” are set to gain access to MAID this March, the Toronto Star reported.
Meanwhile, conservative MP Ed Fast argued that there is no medical consensus on whether those with mental illnesses should have access to MAID, citing concerns that the regime normalizes “assisted death as an alternative treatment option.”
“Have we gone too far and too fast with Canada’s assisted suicide program? Will we evolve into a culture of death as the preferred option for those who suffer from mental illness or will we choose life?” Fast said.
Fast and others have also pointed to stories of people seeking MAID due to situations such as poor income and inadequate housing.
Those who support Canadians with mental illness being granted access to MAID have reportedly argued that there will be safeguards built into the law, so that people don’t just “walk off the street” and obtain a medically assisted suicide whenever they’re feeling “depressed.”
“I want to assure Canadians that it isn’t just the case that you can walk off the street and seek MAID if you’re feeling depressed,” then justice minister David Lametti said late last year.
When the committee’s final report came out in February, it reiterated that MAID should be expanded in cases of mental illness, but noted that there needed to be oversight of how the system would roll out, Toronto Star reported.
The report recommended that the committee be re-established “to verify the degree of preparedness attained for a safe and adequate application of MAID” in cases involving those with mental illness.