Ethical questions often emerge when treating patients’ pain with opioids or treating them for substance-use disorder—questions that do not arise in other parts of practice

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Julian Savulescu presents hypothetical cases to explore whether safe and effective gene therapy ought to be compulsory

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Do the additional safeguards withstand scrutiny?

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Suppose we had robots perfectly identical to men, women and children and we were permitted by law to interact with them in any way we pleased. How would you treat them?

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Jeff Sebo asks this difficult question. “You might be aware that chimpanzees can recognize themselves in a mirror, communicate through sign language, pursue goals creatively and form long-lasting friendships. You might also think that these are the kinds of things that a person can do. However, you might not think of chimpanzees as persons.”

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Rahsaan Thomas writes: “I have complained about my slowly worsening health issues since 2003. With every new symptom, I file a request to see the doctor and jump through hoops to get an appointment. At least seven of them have said the same thing: I’m healthy. I don’t believe it, though, because I don’t trust the system to care about the quality of life of a man convicted of murder.”

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Conscious machines would also raise troubling legal and ethical problems. Would a conscious machine be a “person” under law and be liable if its actions hurt someone, or if something goes wrong? To think of a more frightening scenario, might these machines rebel against humans and wish to eliminate us altogether? If yes, they represent the culmination of evolution

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A common belief is that opioid addiction often begins with a single prescription from a doctor: Patients seek relief from some minor problem like a toothache or back pain, leave with a prescription, and wind up hooked. But there’s not much actual evidence tying doctors’ prescription patterns with individual patients’ long-term use of opioids or complications caused by the drugs later on

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