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D is for drug addiction — and disability
CMAJ 2001;164(11):1565-6 [PDF]

The CMAJ editors deserve praise for their searing editorial on the Ontario government's plan to implement mandatory drug testing for welfare recipients.1 The editorial states (sarcastically) that "Only those with a gift for illogic would question the extension of the drug testing program to people on disability assistance whose only disability is drug addiction." The Ontario government need not worry. Under the Ontario Disability Support Program Act, 1997, people are not recognized as having a disability if they are addicted and the only substantial reduction in activities of daily living is due to the use of the addictive substance. A diagnosis of a substance-related disorder by a medical practitioner does not constitute a "substantial mental or physical impairment" under the Act. According to the Ontario plan, the government will be mandating treatment for people whose addiction is not recognized as a disability under current welfare legislation.

Philip B. Berger
Medical Director
Inner City Health Program
Core Services
St. Michael's Hospital
Toronto, Ont.


1. Another modest proposal [editorial]. CMAJ 2000:164(1):5.



Copyright 2001 Canadian Medical Association or its licensors