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Drug abuse national security threat, says Singh

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18 January 2012 AMRITSAR Border Security Force officials showing 17 kilogram heroine valued at around Rs 85 crore in international market and about Rs 10 lakh fake Indian currency notes which were smuggled by a Pak smuggler who was shot dead by BSF patrolling party near Bhairowal border outpost near Indo Pak international border about 50km from Amritsar on Wednesday. PHOTO PRABHJOT GILL AMRITSAR
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IN03_RAJNATH_1981452fNew Delhi: Home Minister Rajnath Singh, on Wednesday, termed drug abuse a threat to public health and even national security.

“Our global society is facing serious consequences of drug abuse. It undermines the socio-economic and political stability and sustainable development,” Rajnath Singh said.

The minister was addressing the inaugural session of the Sub-Regional Drug Focal Point Meeting and Drug Demand Reduction Expert Group Consultation, South Asia organised by Narcotics Control Bureau.

Rajnath Singh cited narco-terrorism as leading to threats to the national security and sovereignty of states. The involvement of various terrorist groups and syndicates in drug trafficking leads to this issue .

The minister said drugs also destroy the health and fabric of the society and was considered to be the reason for both petty offences and heinous crimes such as smuggling of arms and ammunition and money laundering.

He said drug trafficking and abuse has continued its significant toll on valuable human lives and productive years of many person around the globe.

“With the growth and development of world economy, drug traffickers are also seamlessly trafficking various type of drugs from one corner to other ensuring the availability of the contraband for the vulnerable segment of the society who fall into the trap of drug peddlers and traffickers,” he added.

Rajnath Singh said: “India’s approach towards tackling the menace of drugs is well enshrined in our constitution which, in the Directive Principles, lay down that the state shall make endeavours to bring about the prohibition of substances injurious for health, except for medicinal and scientific purposes.”

Drug trafficking and its connection to other organised crimes is a major challenge for the drug law enforcement agencies. The home ministry, narcotics control bureau, and other drug law enforcement agencies of India are fully capable of dealing with such challenges.

(With inputs from IANS)

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Low Quality Drugs, Medicine Costs More Than Just Money

Even in high-income countries, purchasing cheaper medicines from illegitimate sources online could result in obtaining substandard or falsified medicines.

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Medicines
A seized counterfeit hydrocodone tablets in the investigation of a rash of fentanyl overdoses in northern California is shown in this Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). VOA

About one in eight essential medicines in low- and middle-income countries may be fake or contain dangerous mixes of ingredients that put patients’ lives at risk, a research review suggests.

Researchers examined data from more 350 previous studies that tested more 400,000 drug samples in low- and middle-income countries. Overall, roughly 14 percent of medicines were counterfeit, expired or otherwise low quality and unlikely to be as safe or effective as patients might expect.

“Low-quality medicines can have no or little active pharmaceutical ingredient [and] can prolong illness, lead to treatment failure and contribute to drug resistance,” said lead study author Sachiko Ozawa of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

“Or it may have a too much active ingredient and cause a drug overdose,” Ozawa said by email. “If it is contaminated or has other active ingredients, then the medication could cause poisoning, adverse drug interactions or avertable deaths.”

Much of the research to date on counterfeit or otherwise unsafe medicines has focused on Africa, and about half of the studies in the current analysis were done there.

 

medicines
One in five medications tested in Africa were fake. Pixabay

 

Almost one in five medications tested in Africa were fake or otherwise potentially unsafe, researchers report in JAMA Network Open.

 

Another third of the studies were done in Asia, where about 14 percent of medicines tested were found to be counterfeit or otherwise unsafe.

Antibiotics and antimalarials were the most tested drugs in the analysis. Overall, about 19 percent of antimalarials and 12 percent of antibiotics were falsified or otherwise unsafe.

While fake or improperly made medicines undoubtedly harm patients, the current analysis couldn’t tell how many people suffered serious side effects or died as a result of falsified drugs.

Researchers did try to assess the economic impact of counterfeit or improperly made medicines and found the annual cost might run anywhere from $10 billion to $200 billion.

While the study didn’t examine high-income countries, drug quality concerns are by no means limited to less affluent nations, Ozawa said.

Medicines
Different vaccines. Pixabay

“Even in high-income countries, purchasing cheaper medicines from illegitimate sources online could result in obtaining substandard or falsified medicines,” Ozawa said. “Verify the source before you buy medications, and make policymakers aware of the problem so they can work to improve the global supply chain of medicines.”

The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how counterfeit or poorly made medicines directly harm patients, however. And the economic impact was difficult to assess from smaller studies that often didn’t include a detailed methodology for calculating the financial toll.

Also Read: Eating in 10-hour Window May Boost Health

The report “provides important validation of what is largely already known,” Tim Mackey of the Global Health Policy Institute in La Jolla, California, writes in an accompanying editorial.

“It is important to note that although the study is comprehensive, its narrow scope means it only provides a snapshot of the entire problem, as it is limited to studies conducted in low- and middle-income countries and to those
medicines classified as essential by the World Health Organization.” (VOA)