Monday June 17, 2019

Significant rise in number of Women dying from Drug overdoses Globally: Report

The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board finds governments do not pay enough attention to the huge and growing problem of drug abuse among women

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FILE - In this May 22, 2008 file photo, used syringes and needles are piled on the ground under an underpass on the west side of San Antonio where drug addicts shoot up. VOA

A new report finds a significant rise in the number of women dying from drug overdoses globally, while fewer women than men receive treatment for their addiction and are more severely punished for drug-taking.

The annual report of the International Narcotics Control Board finds governments do not pay enough attention to the huge and growing problem of drug abuse among women. The International Narcotics Control Board, which monitors implementation of U.N. international drug control treaties, says women get short shrift when it comes to the enactment of gender-sensitive policies.

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Gender-biased

INCB President Werner Sipp tells VOA one-third of global drug users are women, but only one-fifth receive treatment. He says there tends to be a gender bias against women, as they often are punished more harshly for drug-related offenses than men.

“We know that women are significantly more likely than men to be prescribed narcotics and anti-anxiety medications or we see that women are increasingly being arrested for drug-related crimes in some regions much more than men. They have even a disproportionate increase in drug overdoses,” he said.

The report notes HIV infections and mental health disorders are more prevalent among women who abuse drugs. It warns locking women up for drug crimes has a serious and detrimental impact on them and on their children and families.

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Not just in rich countries

Sipp says drug abuse is a problem in both rich and poor countries, though data in African and Asian countries is scant. He adds women drug abusers are likely to have greater difficulty receiving the treatment they need in developing countries.

“I think in Africa, the stigma of women, the stigma, which women have to face is probably greater than for instance in Europe or in the U.S,” he said. “A woman who is addicted does not dare to confess, to show that she is addicted because this might lead to very bad consequences in her community or in the society in general.”

The report calls for alternative measures to punishment and conviction for minor drug crimes among women. It recommends more investment in treatment and rehabilitation programs, education, and social integration. (VOA)

Next Story

Super Drug to Take on Stubborn Tuberculosis in Uttar Pradesh, India

Another pill with bedaquiline has already been introduced in the state to fight excessively drug resistant (XDR) TB

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Drug, Tuberculosis, Uttar Pradesh
The new anti-TB drug, with delamanid as active substance, is currently administered to patients. Pixabay

Uttar Pradesh may soon get a new drug to fight the multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB).

The new anti-TB drug, with delamanid as active substance, is currently administered to patients — primarily children in the age group of six to 17 years — in a few southern states of India and is yet to be introduced in Uttar Pradesh, which reported 4.22 lakh patients in 2018.

According to the State TB officer Santosh Gupta, “Delamanid would be introduced in UP in the third quarter of the year, as per the central guidelines.”

“We are awaiting procurement of the drug from the union government. Four of our officers have been trained for implementation of it, which will be given to children (9-17 years) with MDR-TB,” the doctor added.

Drug, Tuberculosis, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh may soon get a new drug to fight the multi-drug resistant (MDR) tuberculosis (TB). Pixabay

Gupta said that another pill with bedaquiline has already been introduced in the state to fight excessively drug resistant (XDR) TB and for which 18 nodal drug resistance centres have been set up.

“An XDR-TB patient is resistant to all anti-TB drugs, including even the stronger combinations of medicines. It is an advanced form of MDR-TB. Bedaquiline, which is WHO recommended, has been made available to patients for free and is found to be effective,” said Gupta and added that patients were being kept under close observation for side effects.

He further laid emphasis on the early detection of TB cases.

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Meanwhile, chairman of the UP state task force for TB control and head of KGMU’s respiratory medicine department, Professor Suryakant said: “Around 28 lakh TB patients are recorded in India. If nutrition is not received in the form of lentils/pulses, fruits and vegetables in diet, a person is more susceptible to the TB bacteria.” (IANS)