Pharmacological research on addictions: a framework for ethical and policy considerations.
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Findings from neuroscience research hold promise for improved treatments for and prevention of substance use disorders (SUD), but ethical concerns about psychopharmacological research involving SUD may potentially undermine scientific progress. This article reviews the literature pertaining to seven ethical requirements that elucidate a coherent framework for evaluating the ethics of clinical SUD research protocols. Those requirements are social or scientific value, scientific validity, fair subject selection, favorable risk-benefit ratio, independent review, informed consent, and respect for potential or enrolled subjects. An evidence-based analysis suggests that sound pharmacological research in SUD can safeguard the welfare of research participants while collecting valuable scientific data and benefiting society.