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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

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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Research Finds That Drug Can Curb Dementia’s Delusions

About 8 million Americans have dementia, and studies suggest that up to 30% of them develop psychosis.

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Television actor Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell talks about Drugs
Television actor Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell pose with a placard in front of Downing Street ahead of a meeting with Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson in London, Britain. VOA

A drug that curbs delusions in Parkinson’s patients did the same for people with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia in a study that was stopped early because the benefit seemed clear.

If regulators agree, the drug could become the first treatment specifically for dementia-related psychosis and the first new medicine for Alzheimer’s in nearly two decades. It targets some of the most troubling symptoms that patients and caregivers face — hallucinations that often lead to anxiety, aggression, and physical and verbal abuse.

Results were disclosed Wednesday at a conference in San Diego.

Unmet need for treatment

“This would be a very important advance,” said one independent expert, Dr. Howard Fillit, chief science officer of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation.

Although the field is focused on finding a cure for dementia and preventing future cases, “there is a huge unmet need for better treatment” for those who have it now, said Maria Carrillo, the Alzheimer’s Association’s chief science officer.

The drug is pimavanserin, a daily pill sold as Nuplazid by Acadia Pharmaceuticals Inc. It was approved for Parkinson’s-related psychosis in 2016 and is thought to work by blocking a brain chemical that seems to spur delusions.

Dementia Drugs
Dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Pixabay

About 8 million Americans have dementia, and studies suggest that up to 30% of them develop psychosis.

“It’s terrifying,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cummings of the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health in Las Vegas. “You believe that people might be trying to hurt you. You believe that people are stealing from you. You believe that your spouse is unfaithful to you. Those are the three most common false beliefs.”

How the study worked

He consults for Acadia and helped lead the study, which included about 400 people with dementia and psychosis. All were given a low dose of the drug for three months, and those who seemed to respond or benefit were then split into two groups. Half continued on the drug and the others were given dummy pills for six months or until they had a relapse or worsening of symptoms. Neither the patients nor their doctors knew who was getting what.

Independent monitors stopped the study when they saw that those on dummy pills were more than twice as likely as those on the drug to relapse or worsen — 28% versus nearly 13%.

There were relatively few serious side effects — 5% in the drug group and 4% in the others. Headaches and urinary tract infections were more common among those on the drug. Two deaths occurred, but study leaders said neither was related to the drug.

The drug could become the first treatment for dementia
The drug could become the first treatment specifically for dementia-related psychosis. Pixabay

Carrillo said the study was small, but the drug’s effect seemed large, and it’s not known whether the federal Food and Drug Administration would want more evidence to approve a new use.

Risk of death

Current anti-psychotic medicines have some major drawbacks and are not approved for dementia patients.

“They’re often used off label because we have very few other options,” Fillit said.

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All carry warnings that they can raise the risk of death in elderly patients, as does Nuplazid.

Cost could be an issue — about $3,000 a month. What patients pay can vary depending on insurance coverage. (VOA)