Tuesday October 23, 2018

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
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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)

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Family Size Can Be Determined By Reproductive Rights: Study

To make freedom of choice a reality, the report urges countries to offer universal access to quality reproductive health care

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A community health worker holds up contraceptives during a lecture on family planning at a reproductive health clinic run by an NGO in Tondo city, metro Manila. VOA

Family size is closely linked to reproductive rights, according to the State of World Population 2018 report.

The U.N. report says people in developed countries tend to have lower fertility rates because of greater access to family planning services, modern contraceptives and age-appropriate sex education.

The director of the U.N. Population Fund office in Geneva, Monica Ferro, says in places where reproductive rights are constrained, either due to lack of resources or government mandates, people have a limited ability to choose the size of their families.

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Google suspends Ireland’s Abortion Referendum Ads, VOA

“Many sub-Saharan African countries, for example, have fertility rates of four or more births per woman,” Ferro said. “At the other end of the spectrum, you have some eastern Asian and European countries with fewer than two births per women. In both cases, individuals face obstacles to the full realization of their reproductive rights.”

The world population is expected to increase by 2.5 billion by 2050, to nearly 10 billion people, with sub-Saharan Africa expected to contribute more than half of that growth.

Women in Africa must overcome many legal and social barriers to achieve control of their fertility, Ferro said.

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Women in Africa must overcome many legal and social barriers to achieve control of their fertility.

“Women may not have the access to medical services,” she told VOA. “They may not have the access to child care. They may not have access to all the institutional and social support that comes with being ready or being able to plan your fertility.”

Also Read: Brisbane, Australia Protests Against Plans To Decriminalise Abortion

To make freedom of choice a reality, the report urges countries to offer universal access to quality reproductive health care, including modern contraceptives and better education.

It also advocates for a change in men’s attitudes toward a woman’s right to choose the number, timing and spacing of children. (VOA)