A.M. Costa Rica's Fourth News page
San José, Costa Rica, Monday, Jan. 23, 2017, Vol. 17, No. 16
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Medical experts conclude that war on drugs has had devastating effects
By the BMJ news staff

The war on drugs has had devastating effects on human rights and public health worldwide, argue experts in BMJ, formerly know as the British Medical Journal.

In November, the journal argued that prohibition laws have failed and called on doctors to lead the debate on alternative rational policies that promote health and respect dignity.

Last week, key players in this debate discuss the harms of prohibition and criminalization and outline their reasons for drug policy reform.

In the first article, Dainius Puras, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to health, and Julie Hannah co-director of the International Centre on Human Rights and Drug Policy at the University of Essex, say harsh enforcement of prohibition undermines the right to health and fundamental dignity.

They argue that mass incarceration has overburdened criminal justice systems and left countless people languishing in deplorable facilities in inhumane conditions around the world. While outside the criminal justice system, compulsory detention centers hold people identified as drug users without due process.

Yet they point out that, despite the devastating health and human rights effects, incarceration has failed to deter drug consumption or trafficking.

They believe that drug prohibition and criminalization is a failed policy model and urge health professionals "to lead efforts to combat societal prejudices and enable reforms that rightfully place individuals and communities at the heart of the response."

Because of harsh national policies to fulfill international treaties that insist on prohibition of non-medical drug use, more than

five billion people, 80 percent of the world's population, have little or no access to medicines such as morphine to treat moderate to severe pain, warns Katherine Pettus at the International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care, in a second article.

She points out that in 2012 the European Society for Medical Oncology described a pandemic of untreated cancer pain as a global health scandal. Four years later, a narrative to improve availability of medicines to treat pain has gained traction and precision globally, but "the changes on the ground in some countries are too little and too slow," she argues.

Availability of controlled medicines must be commensurate with clinical need, with safe distribution and dispensing systems, to overcome the scandalously low consumption levels that for too long have been distorted by the war on drugs, she concludes.

In a final article, Michel Kazatchkine, U.N. secretary general special envoy on HIV/AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, argues that the war on drugs leads to denial of evidence-based treatment for drug users.

Comprehensive and compelling evidence shows that providing clean needles, opioid substitutes like methadone and antiretroviral therapy to people who inject drugs reduces HIV transmission and long-term drug dependency, cuts crime and public disorder, and improves quality of life, he writes.

Russia, however, is strongly prohibitionist and rejects all such policies, and, as he points out, is the only region in the world that still has a growing HIV epidemic.

Harm reduction "has become an example of how health is increasingly being politicized and how policy decisions can be disconnected from scientific evidence," he concludes.

Vacation, travel and hospitality


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Put Costa Rica on your walls
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Find us on Trip Advisor, Facebook, Twitter,
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Georgre Lundquist header

The Relocation/Retirement tour with the
 *HIGHEST SUCCESS RATE
OF RELOCATION*

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See how to choose a Retirement tour video by past guest!
HERE!

Ask the others what you get for your money, and then compare the quality of accommodations, quality, quantity and variety of food and drink to measure the best value for your money. 

Learn how others “talk the talk” and learn who really can “walk the walk”

Please visit my Web site  to contact my references.
George Lundquist, retirement, relocation columnist, Guide & Developer/Builder. lundquistgeorge@gmail.com

George Lundquist

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