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SC issues notice to central government on blocking websites selling prohibited drugs

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notice to the central government on a plea by NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan seeking a clamp down on websites selling and delivering prohibited drugs which were being used by children on a large scale.

Photo Credit: http://www.bba.org.in
Photo Credit: http://www.bba.org.in

The social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit issued notice after senior counsel H. S. Phoolka appearing for the NGO told the court that a survey has revealed that about two crore children are using these drugs, tobacco, and other narcotic products.

Describing the situation as “alarming”, Phoolka said that these drugs were being “openly used in the schools.”

As he handed over a paper to the bench carrying the names of the drugs sold on websites, the court said that these are old ones and now many new drugs have come and are circulating in the market.

Meanwhile, in the missing children matter, the social justice bench on Friday warned that it would take a stern view and initiate contempt proceedings against the officials if it was provided with “misleading” information.

The court said this as it let-off Navin Yadav, an under secretary in the women and child development ministry, summoned to the court for allegedly giving figures in an affidavit that were at variance with what the minister had told parliament in response to an question.

The court forgave the official after being satisfied that the error in furnishing figures to the court was “bonafide” and also waived the Rs. 25,000 fine that it had imposed on the ministry in the last hearing of the matter on July 31.

The court on July 31 had taken a strong exception to huge discrepancy in the figures of the number of missing children as told to it and those placed before the parliament and had said that such a situation would not be “tolerated”.

“Ideas can change but numbers can’t change,” the court had said observing that somebody was misleading it.

The court had directed the personal presence of Navin Yadav in the last hearing after Bachpan Bachao Andolan had told the court that the minister had told the Rajya Sabha that 79,721 children had gone missing during 2013-2015 whereas the ministry’s affidavit before the court was putting the figures at 25,834.

(IANS)

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To Fight The U.S. Opioid Epidemic, Bloomberg Donates $50Mn

Bloomberg, who has been an independent, a Republican and a Democrat, declared lifetime allegiance to the Democratic Party.

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Opioid Epidemic
Former mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg speaks to the media in Jackson, Miss., Nov. 29, 2018. Bloomberg’s philanthropy has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. VOA

Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity has announced a $50 million donation to help fight the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Bloomberg Philanthropies said over the next three years it will help up to 10 states address the causes of opioid addiction and strengthen prevention and treatment programs. Its initiative involves a partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Johns Hopkins University and Vital Strategies.

Bloomberg, who has been considering a 2020 Democratic presidential bid, was expected to discuss the funding Friday during his keynote address at The Bloomberg American Health Summit in Washington. A spokeswoman said there was “no stated link” between his political aspirations and the $50 million investment to fight opioids.

Bloomberg’s charity said CDC data shows there were more than 70,000 U.S. drug overdose deaths last year, including more than 47,000 from opioids, the highest numbers on record. It said those numbers are a leading factor in the decline of U.S. life expectancy over the past three years.

Bloomberg called the sobering numbers part of “a national crisis.”

opioid epidemic
Cataldo Ambulance medics and other first responders revive a 32-year-old man who was found unresponsive and not breathing after an opioid overdose on a sidewalk in the Boston suburb of Everett, Massachusetts, Aug. 23, 2017. VOA

“For the first time since World War I, life expectancy in the U.S. has declined over the past three years — and opioids are a big reason why,” he said. “We cannot sit by and allow this alarming trend to continue — not when so many Americans are being killed in what should be the prime of their lives.”

He said in a statement he hoped his charity’s work in Pennsylvania, one of the states hardest hit by the opioids crisis, would lay the groundwork “for more effective action across the country.”

The partnership focuses on identifying new approaches to tackle opioids and plugging gaps in current treatment and prevention programs. Staff members from partner organizations will support state and local programs to reduce opioid-related deaths, and successful initiatives and guidelines will be replicated elsewhere, with the goal of creating a model for the rest of the nation.

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf said he was “deeply grateful” for the financial and technical resources his state will receive through the partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Melania Trump, epidemic
Melania Trump calls opioid epidemic ‘worst drug crisis’ in US.

“From our first responders and health care professionals to teachers and social service providers, heroes across our commonwealth are saving lives and protecting residents in our communities every day from this awful scourge,” Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement issued by the Bloomberg charity. “We are doing everything we can to help them, and I am confident that this partnership will mark a turning point in our efforts.”

Also Read: Melania Trump Calls Opioid Epidemic The ‘Worst Drug Crisis’ in American Histroy

The Drug Enforcement Administration said this month in its National Drug Threat Assessment that heroin, fentanyl and other opioids continue to be the highest drug threat in the nation.

Bloomberg, who has been an independent, a Republican and a Democrat, declared lifetime allegiance to the Democratic Party and outlined an aggressive timeline for deciding whether to run for president in an interview with The Associated Press this month. He has regularly criticized President Donald Trump and spent a fortune to help elect Democrats in the midterm elections. (VOA)