More high-quality evidence needed on adverse health effects from Tasers

A new expert panel report, entitled The Health Effects of Conducted Energy Weapons, was released by the Council of Canadian Academies in collaboration with the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

The assessment was conducted by a 14-member panel of distinguished multidisciplinary experts and chaired by the Honourable Justice Goudge from the Court of Appeal for Ontario. The Expert Panel was asked to consider the state of knowledge about the medical and physiological impacts of conducted energy weapons (CEWs).

Based on a review of the best available research, the Panel determined that, while potentially fatal respiratory and cardiac complications are plausible if a number of factors are in place, their occurrence is rare. The Panel also concluded that:

  • there is a need for higher-quality evidence to fully understand the relationship between CEW use and potential adverse health effects;
  • a comparable and standardized approach for documenting and reporting adverse effects after a CEW discharge, by law enforcement and health professionals, is needed to improve the state of the evidence; and
  • improved surveillance and monitoring should be taken into account when considering future policies and practices.

This report is one of the most comprehensive assessments of national and international evidence to date regarding the health effects of CEWs, and will complement other work on appropriate use, testing, and safety of CEW devices.

To learn more about the Expert Panel’s report visit http://www.scienceadvice.ca/.

Source: Council of Canadian Academies