Thursday October 19, 2017

US Opioid Crisis : Deaths in 2016 from Drug Overdose ‘Highest in American History’, Says US Attorney General

Sessions said President Donald Trump's campaign pledge to end the opioid crisis remains a priority for his administration

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DRUG OVERDOSE
A bag of 4-fluoroisobutyrylfentanyl, which was seized in a drug arrest, is displayed at the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Special Testing and Research Laboratory in Sterling, Va., Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)(VOA)

Washington, September 22, 2017 : U.S. deaths from drug overdose set a record of more than 64,000 in 2016, driven by an intractable opioid crisis, U.S. Attorney General said Thursday, citing preliminary government data.

Provisional data released last month by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) showed that there were 64,070 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2016, up 21 percent from 52,898 the year before.

The NCHS is an arm of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The 2016 estimate “would be the highest drug death toll and the fastest increase in that death toll in American history,” Sessions said. “And every day this crisis continues to grow, as more than 5,000 Americans abuse painkillers for the first time.”

Opioids such as heroin and the synthetic drug fentanyl were responsible for most of the fatal overdoses, killing more than 33,000 Americans — quadruple the number from 20 years ago.

drug overdose
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks at a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington (VOA)

“More Americans died of drug overdose than died from car crashes or died from AIDS at the height of the AIDS epidemic,” Sessions said. “For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death.”

Sessions spoke at an event in Charleston, West Virginia, a state with the highest drug overdose rate in the country. In 2015, West Virginia reported more than 41 overdose deaths per 100,000 people, compared with a national average of 16 per 100,000, according to NCHS data.

Sessions said President Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to end the opioid crisis remains a priority for his administration.

“I believe that the department’s new resources and new efforts will bring more criminals to justice, and ultimately save lives,” Sessions said. “And I’m convinced this is a winnable war.”

In March, Trump named New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a former presidential candidate, to head the newly formed President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Last month, the commission urged the administration to declare the opioid crisis a national emergency.

“With approximately 142 Americans dying every day, America is enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks,” the commission said in an interim report.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price said that no declaration was necessary to combat the crisis, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later said Trump was taking the idea “absolutely seriously.” (VOA)

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Can Pain Make You Feel Better ? Understanding Deliberate Self Harm Practices Among Adolescents

What do children and young adults do when the level of emotional pressure becomes increasingly high? According to studies, an increasing number of adolescents indulge in self harm to relieve stress.

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self harm
Societal pressure and lack of support often forces young adults to indulge in impulsive self-harm mechanisms like drug overdose and self cutting. Pixabay

– by Dr. Rajeev Nagpal, Australia

  • Deliberate self harm (DSH), also known as self injury is the act of intentionally inflicting damage to the body
  • It has become a common practice among children and teenagers across the globe
  • DSH among teenagers can be attributed to lifestyle and technology changes, peer pressure and lack of support

Australia, September 1, 2017: Dr. Rajeev Nagpal expresses his opinion on the dangerous practice of self-harm increasingly affecting children and young adults across the world.

What is Deliberate Self-Harm (DSH)?

Self-harm is described as an expression of situational crisis or personal distress which leads to harming oneself. NICE clinical guidelines from the UK have defined it as self-poisoning or injury, irrespective of the apparent purpose of the act.

Deliberate Self Harm (DSH) is not a clinical condition but a response to a stressful situation in the life of a young child or adolescent. It can occur after long term stress like abuse or domestic violence or after an acute single event like the loss of a near one or failure in examinations. It is primarily a coping mechanism in which they try to release tension by trying to self-harm.

Self harm
Dr. Nagpal views self-harm not as a clinical condition, but as a coping mechanism adopted by children and young adults to vent their tension.

Already there are reports of Indian children losing their life after playing games like the blue whale challenge on the internet. It is time for the general population, including the parents of young children to understand the issues of this very complex condition called deliberate self-harm.

Public Health Issue

In recent years DSH has become a major public health issue in most developed countries. However, although less reported, this problem is a major under-recognized epidemic in low and middle –income countries like India, Nepal.

According to a retrospective study conducted at the Emergency department of CMC, Vellore, India from Jan 2011 to Dec 2013, among the total 1228 patients who were admitted, consumption of pesticides was the most common cause of DSH in men. Consumption of plant poisoning and drug overdose was more common in women.The study involved all population, therefore, the actual number of pediatric population was difficult to ascertain.

Other international studies have also revealed that adolescents, who experienced anxiety or low mood, were six times more at risk of self-harm in young adulthood compared to those without depression or anxiety disorders.

Approximately a million lives are lost to suicide annually, worldwide.

Deliberate self-harm (DSH) is the single most important risk factor for suicide and is associated with huge health service resource utilization. Deliberate self-poisoning in children continues to remain a significant part of the workload of emergency departments, especially in adolescents, even though fewer children need admission now as compared with earlier decades.

Presentation of DSH

Many young adults find it difficult to express their feelings. Some examples of self-harm behavior are:

  • Self-cutting or scratching
  • Burning or scalding
  • Poisoning with drugs like paracetamol, anti-depressants
  • Swallowing objects

Relatively little information is available about the characteristics and long-term outcome of children and adolescents aged under 15 years who present to general hospitals because of deliberate self-harm (DSH).

Depressive disorders in pediatrics fall in ranges from mood changes in response to persistent mood change accompanied by suicidal ideation or intent.

The difficulties faced by adolescents are getting more complex with lifestyle and technology changes globally. Peer pressure along with family expectations can aggravate this sense of worthlessness.

Deliberate self harm
Feelings of helplessness, stemming from a variety of social and cultural factors can force an adolescent to indulge in self-harm. Pixabay

Lack of support networks can lead them to opt for impulsive self-harm mechanisms like poisoning. Intentional overdose to commonly implicated drugs like Paracetamol in the UK, or organo- phosphorous compounds in Nepal and is a cause of grave concern.

How to Deal with this Issue

As young children are unable to deal very well with emotional stresses, they will need a supportive team to help them in understanding their feelings and the possible outcomes from them.

This requires a multidisciplinary team approach.

  • Understanding the issues by holding awareness sessions of this condition in schools and other organizations
  • Creating referral pathways that all school staff are aware of
  • Confidential telephone lines /NGOs dealing with mental health of adolescent’s
  • Government policies and procedures for treatment of acute cases in Accident and Emergency departments
  • Provision of developing CAMHS(Child and adolescent mental health services ) like services at state level in Indian government hospitals.
  • Increased research particularly in pediatrics and adolescent’s needs to be conducted at state and national level.

ALSO READ Suicide is Preventable: Alarming Effects of Self-harm on Families, Communities, Societies

Conclusion

DSH is an under-recognized, major public health problem in low and middle-income countries. National level medical protocols and increasing the awareness amongst the public and agencies dealing with such conditions can be the first step in saving millions of lives from the untimely death of the most vulnerable yet productive younger sections of the society.

Dr. Rajeev Nagpal  is a Pediatrician and MHID (Masters OF Health and International Development-Flinders University, Adelaide, Australia) 

 


 

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These 10 Events after Independence changed India Forever

These ten events that happened in the past changed the country forever: 

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Independence Day
India is Celebrating its 71st Independence Day. Wikimedia
  • India celebrates the Independence day on 15th August
  • Since the partition and Independence of 1947, the country has come a long way on its own
  • We look at ten events that changed India forever

August 15, 2017: Today India celebrates its 71st Independence Day. In 1947, India became a sovereign nation independent of foreign rule, which came at the cost of a partition.

However, in these 71 years, India has come a long way to become a reputable nation in the international standings.

These ten events that happened in the past changed the country forever:

1. The Indo-Sino war of 1962: 

The 1962 war with China resulted in a humiliating defeat for India. While India was trying to stand on its own feet, independent from the foreigners, the savage offense from China was a blow to India’s confidence. The communist China attacked India on 20th October 1962 in Ladakh. Some say the war emerged out of nowhere. India did not see it coming, and was not prepared for it. The war, however, created animosity between two neighbors who are today the regional powers in the continent.

2. The Indo-Pak war of 1971: 

India and Pakistan have been at war since the partition. The 1971 war between the two countries lasted just 13 days, but a major event of history was written. Bangladesh was liberated from Pakistan and became an independent nation. With this creation, the geopolitics of the Indian subcontinent changed forever. A buffer zone in the form of Bangladesh had emerged. Further, the dispute of Teesta river was a continual issue until recently.

ALSO READ: PM Narendra Modi Condemns Religious Violence on 71st Indian Independence Day, Warns “Will Not Accept Violence In The Name Of Faith”

3. The National Emergency of 1975: 

Indira Gandhi government declared the National Emergency in 1975. The fundamental rights of the people and the constitution became worthless. Liberty was erased from the lives of the citizens. All in all, it was an attack on the very democracy of India. Many people were put behind bars and opposition was totally shut off.

4. Anti-Sikh Riots in 1984: 

The Khalistani militants who were demanding a separate state were terminated by the government of India as part of the Operation Bluestar. Indira Gandhi had ordered an attack on a militant group hiding in Golden Temple, Amritsar which is considered the Holiest place for Sikhs. What followed was the assassination of Indira Gandhi by two of her Sikh bodyguards in 1984. The agitated public thus initiated a revenge against innocent Sikhs. In Delhi alone, 2,733 Sikhs were killed. This incident still influences the political atmosphere of Punjab.

5. The VP Singh Mandal Commission: 

After independence, the scheduled castes and tribes were recognized as in dire need of social welfare and opportunity to equality. But the Other Backward Classes (OBC) were not involved. It was in 1990 when PM VP Singh declared that the Mandal Commission report, submitted in 1980, was accepted. It changed the phase of many spheres of citizen lives. Education universities were flooded by young people who sought retributive justice. Many enjoyed prosperity and better standards of living.

6. Liberalization in India: 

The Liberalization policy of 1991 was presented by Finance Minister Manmohan Singh. It proved to be the most historic policy in the country’s legacy. Economic reforms were introduced in the country. India was further integrated with global markets and finance. This led to India enjoying a massive rate of progress.

7. 1992 Demolition of Babri Masjid: 

Hindutva ideology possessed people destroyed the Babri Masjid upon learning that four hundred years ago a Muslim ruler had destroyed the Ram Temple where the Lord was born. Hindus demanded a Ram temple be built. This case became a famous dispute between two religions that once coexisted peacefully in one nation. It also influences the politics of the country today.

8. Gujarat Riots 2002: 

A train was set ablaze on fire in a conspiracy. The train was returning from Ayodhya to Gujarat and was carrying Hindus. In retaliation, hundreds of Muslims were killed. The Chief Minister of the state at that time was Narendra Modi, who is the current Prime Minister of India. He came under a lot of fire for the inability to control the situation.

9. Mumbai Terror 2008: 

Popularly referred to as the 26/11, this was the worst attack on the Indian soil. It revealed the loopholes in security arrangements of India and thus improved army and weaponry.

10. 2014 PM Elections:

The 2014 elections shocked Congress and their supporters. For the first time in the country, a party other than Congress received a majority in the Lok Sabha. The whole status quo of the country trembled. The party which is communal in nature was now at power.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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Indu Sarkar Movie Exposes Unholy Nexus between the Congress Government and Indira Gandhi led National Emergency of 1975

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National Emergency of 1975
Madhur Bhandarkar's latest film 'Indu Sarkar' claims to expose the truth about the national emergency of 1975. Wikimedia
  • Filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest masterpiece is titled, ‘Indu Sarkar’
  • The recently released movie has been controversial and criticized
  • The movie intends to inform the general public about the truth behind National Emergency of 1975-1977

New Delhi, July 30, 2017: Madhur Bhandarkar’s latest movie ‘Indu Sarkar’ has re-ignited many debates as it exposes the Unholy Nexus between the Congress Government and Indira Gandhi led National Emergency of 1975.

As the filmmaker claims that the movie reveals the truth behind the imposed national emergency. The movie tells about the accounts of people who were held in Tihar prison under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and the people involved in the mass sterilization project were also interviewed.

ALSO READ: Priya Singh Paul: Woman Claims to be Indira Gandhi’s Secret Granddaughter

The 1975 emergency was a national emergency, imposed solely by the Prime Minister of the country Indira Gandhi. During the emergency, freedom was curtailed to minimum and mass atrocities were committed by the state. The emergency was implemented for 21 months.

The National Emergency is one of the lowest points of nationhood in independent India’s history. The national emergency is not taught with the effort that it deserves in schools and universities. Many people today are unaware of what it was and how it happened. Civil liberties of the very citizens of the country were quashed and made valueless overnight. The Constitution, all of a sudden, was meaningless. It was horrific.

The National Emergency is one of the lowest points of nationhood in independent India's history. Click To Tweet

Hence, the Congress party requested the makers of the film to show it to the party before the censors take over. Sanjay Nirupam, the Congress leader, had issued a letter to Pahlaj Nihalani, the CBFC chief, in which he expressed his party’s request to watch the film before being censored.

Claiming herself to be Sanjay Gandhi’s biological daughter, Priya Singh Paul had filed a petition to the Bombay High Court and demanded that a stay must be put on the film by the censor board. Another petition was filed by a lawyer in Delhi to put a stay on the film. This petition, by the lawyer, claimed that the movie is a “propaganda film”.

Having struggled through various petitions, controversies, and opposition from the opposition party, ‘Indu Sarkar’ was approved for a Friday release after 12 cuts. As uncomfortable as the truth may be, the movie has taken up the responsibility to let us like it is.

– prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394