Highly Praised Anti-Addiction Program For Prisoners Was “Fraud”

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A medical study that was widely hailed in Swedish media and led to new treatment guidelines was a “fraud,” states health reporter and researcher Janne Larsson. The study involved giving prisoners high doses of the ADHD drug Concerta to help “treat” addiction.

The study was published in the journal Addiction, and was led by Johan Franck of the Karolinska Institutet and Clinical Director of the Stockholm Centre for Dependency Disorders.

The main misleading aspect of the study, writes Larsson, was that the prisoners all had histories of amphetamine addiction, and were given extremely high doses of the medically similar methylphenidate drug Concerta, or a placebo. All the participants, highly experienced with the drug’s effects, knew right away if they’d gotten a potent dose of the drug or a sugar pill, writes Larsson. Consequently, most of the placebo group dropped out of the study and were counted as “relapses,” while the “treatment” group seemed to fare “better.”

“But the actual disastrous results were concealed,” writes Larsson. “No one – except the researchers involved – knew that 26% of the subjects receiving the “ADHD drug” Concerta in high dose relapsed into addiction the first week when released from prison, or that 41% had relapsed the first two weeks.”

Research fraud, prisoners and ADHD drugs in Sweden (TransWorldNews, November 11, 2014)

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