Politics

Arkansas inmates given ivermectin for COVID but told it was ‘vitamins,’ and/or ‘steroids’

A year after the men were given ivermectin (without their consent), the county sheriff admitted to the secret, leaving inmates such as 30-year-old Edrick Floreal-Woote feeling as if he’d been experimented on. 

“It was not consensual. They used us as an experiment — like we’re livestock,” Floreal-Woote said. “Just because we wear stripes and we make a few mistakes in life, doesn’t make us less of a human. We got families, we got loved ones out there that love us.”

Karas Health Care, Karas’ practice, has been championing ivermectin for months on Facebook, advocating for protocols of large doses of vitamin C, and soliciting for his “PAID COVID-19 Prevention Drug Trial.” He’s also admitted to having COVID-19 three times.

On July 16, the practice posted on Facebook, “if anybody you know test positive send them or [sic] way and we’ll get them started on doxy, singular, ivermectin, vitamin d, vitamin c, and zinc.”

Even Merck, the company that makes ivermectin, has said there’s no scientific basis for a potential therapeutic effect against COVID-19.”

According to the lawsuit, inmates were told by the jail’s medical start that the ivermectin pills were “vitamins,” “antibiotics,” and/or “steroids.”

“The truth, however, was that without knowing and voluntary consent, Plaintiffs ingested incredibly high doses of a drug that credible medical professionals, the FDA, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all agree is not an effective treatment against COVID-19,” the lawsuit says.

The inmates are demanding to be evaluated by independent doctors and be “awarded their costs, fees, and any other appropriate relief to which they are entitled.”  

“No one – including incarcerated individuals – should be deceived and subject to medical experimentation. Sheriff Helder has a responsibility to provide food, shelter, and safe, appropriate care to incarcerated individuals,” Gary Sullivan, the legal director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement.

“The Federal Food and Drug Administration has said that misuse of Ivermectin for COVID-19 can cause serious harm including seizures, comas, and even death. The detention center failed to use safe and appropriate treatments for COVID-19, even in the midst of a pandemic, and they must be held accountable,” Sullivan added. 

According to CBS News, Karas, who has treated people at the jail for six years, says vaccines are a “tremendous asset in the fight against COVID,” but that their availability “does not change the day-to-day reality of caring for sick patients.”  

He claims he obtained ivermectin from a pharmacist “in dosages and compounds formulated for humans” with COVID. 

“I do not have the luxury of conducting my own clinical trial or study and am not attempting to do so. I am on the front line of trying to prevent death and serious illness,” he told CBS News. “I am proud of our track record in both of my clinics and at the jail in particular.”

So the next someone asks about why some people in the Black community are wary of vaccines, remember how these inmates were treated, and then remember the Tuskegee experiment in 1932, where Black men, nearly 400 of whom had syphilis, were told they were being treated for “bad blood” but in fact weren’t given any treatment. By 1943, penicillin was the treatment of choice for syphilis and becoming widely available, but the participants in the study were not offered treatment.




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