Cambridge University is to pay crack and cocaine addicts for taking part in a study on impact of drugs on the brain, it has emerged.
Regular Class A drug users to will receive compensation and travel costs in return for signing up for five-and-a-half hours of tests.
Volunteers will be given an MRI brain scan, fill in a questionnaire, take computerised assessments and have their blood sampled for genetic analysis.
The offer is only open to addicts who have a non-using brother or sister who is also willing to take part in the neurological research, according to the local paper advertisement.
The Cambridge scientists behind the study refused to say how much the participants will be paid.
People volunteering for similar tests in the past have received up to £300.
Dr Karen Ersche, the principal researcher, defended the payments claiming that it was difficult to attract suitable volunteers.
"The advert deliberately mentions no amount because we do not want people to approach us just for the money," she said.
"People who normally volunteer really want to find out about the brain. I will tell them how much they will get paid after we have discussed the project fully.
"What we are trying to discover is why some people are much more susceptible to drug addiction than others. Lots of people take cocaine but only 16 per cent get addicted."
Researchers at Cambridge's neuroscience department said that a small number of addicts had already responded to the half-page advert.
In 2007 Cambridge University was criticised for paying addicts up to £100 a day over three days for related research into the effect of chemicals on the brain.
The Conservatives criticised the move and said addicts may spend the money on illegal drugs, calling for the money to be given to charity.
Source - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/educatio...dicts-for-taking-part-in-addiction-study.html
By Matthew Moore
Published: 8:00AM BST 01 Aug 2009