Health News StoriesExcerpts of Key Health News Stories in Major Media
Note: This comprehensive list of health news stories is usually updated once a week. Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
For many of us, the most pressing question about exercise is: How little can I get away with? The answer, according to a sophisticated new study of interval training, may be very, very little. In this new experiment, in fact, 60 seconds of strenuous exertion proved to be as successful at improving health and fitness as three-quarters of an hour of moderate exercise. Scientists at McMaster University ... began by recruiting 25 out-of-shape young men and measuring their current aerobic fitness. Then the researchers randomly divided the men into three groups. One group was asked to change nothing; they would be the controls. A second group began a typical endurance-workout routine. The final group was assigned to interval training, using [a] workout [that] lasted 10 minutes, with only one minute of that time being strenuous. Both groups of exercising volunteers completed three sessions each week for 12 weeks. By the end of the study ... the endurance group had [exercised] for 27 hours, while the interval group had [exercised] for six hours, with only 36 minutes of that time being strenuous. The scientists ... found that the exercisers showed virtually identical gains. In both groups, endurance had increased by nearly 20 percent, insulin resistance likewise had improved significantly, and there were significant [improvements in] certain microscopic structures in the men’s muscles. Neither approach to exercise was, however, superior to the other, except that one was shorter - much, much shorter.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
You've heard those hospital horror stories where the surgeon removes the wrong body part or operates on the wrong patient. Even scarier, perhaps, is a new study in the latest edition of BMJ suggesting most medical errors go unobserved, at least in the official record. In fact, the study, from doctors at Johns Hopkins, suggests medical errors may kill more people than lower respiratory diseases like emphysema and bronchitis do. That would make these medical mistakes the third leading cause of death in the United States. That would place medical errors right behind heart disease and cancer. Through their analysis of four other studies examining death rate information, the doctors estimate there are at least 251,454 deaths due to medical errors annually in the United States. The authors believe the number is actually much higher, as home and nursing home deaths are not counted in that total. This is a much greater number than a highly cited 1999 study from the Institute of Medicine that put the number in the 44,000 to 98,000 range. Other studies have put estimates closer to 195,000 deaths a year. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the inspector general in 2008 reported 180,000 deaths by medical error among Medicare patients alone. Dr. Martin Makary and Dr. Michael Daniel, who did the study, hope their analysis will lead to real reform in a health care system they argue is letting patients down.
Note: The above article does not mention prescription drug deaths. This is surprising, as prescription drugs were reported to have caused 123,000 deaths and 800,000 adverse patient outcomes such as disability in the US in 2014 alone. Read also the revealing comments of Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, on the massive corruption she found in the health industry. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria has been a growing concern in the United States, leading to thousands of deaths each year. Doctors prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily is a big contributor to the problem, and now a new analysis of government data [has] found that an estimated 30 percent of outpatient oral antibiotic prescriptions in the U.S. from 2010 to 2011 may have been unwarranted. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant infections affect 2 million people and lead to about 23,000 deaths annually. "Antibiotic resistance is one of the most urgent public health threats of our time," Dr. Katherine E. Fleming-Dutra, of the CDC, told CBS News. "The use of antibiotics is the single most important factor leading to resistance." For the study, Fleming-Dutra and her team analyzed two CDC national surveys. The results showed that about half of the antibiotics prescribed for acute respiratory infections, including the common cold, bronchitis, and viral sore throat, may have been unnecessary. Across all conditions, about 30 percent of antibiotic prescriptions were inappropriate from 2010 to 2011. "This equates to about 47 million unnecessary antibiotic prescriptions written every year in the United States," Fleming-Dutra said. The strategy to improve outpatient antibiotic prescribing is twofold. Doctors need to be more cautious about prescribing antibiotics unnecessarily. Patients can play a role in stopping antibiotic misuse, too, [by expressing] their concerns about antibiotic overuse to their clinicians.
Note: Big Pharma profits handsomely from unnecessary drug prescriptions. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
On the edge of Belarus' Chernobyl exclusion zone, down the road from the signs warning "Stop! Radiation," a dairy farmer offers his visitors a glass of freshly drawn milk. Associated Press reporters politely decline the drink but pass on a bottled sample to a laboratory, which confirms it contains levels of a radioactive isotope at levels 10 times higher than the nation's food safety limits. Fallout from the April 26, 1986, explosion at the Chernobyl plant in neighboring Ukraine continues to taint life in Belarus. The authoritarian government of this agriculture-dependent nation appears determined to restore long-idle land to farm use - and in a country where dissent is quashed, any objection to the policy is thin. One of the most prominent medical critics of the government's approach to safeguarding the public from Chernobyl fallout, Dr. Yuri Bandazhevsky, was removed as director of a Belarusian research institute and imprisoned in 2001 on corruption charges that international rights groups branded politically motivated. Since his 2005 parole he has resumed his research into Chernobyl-related cancers with European Union sponsorship. "In Belarus, there is no protection of the population from radiation exposure. On the contrary, the government is trying to persuade people not to pay attention to radiation, and food is grown in contaminated areas and sent to all points in the country," [Bandazhevsky said]. The milk sample subjected to an AP-commissioned analysis backs this picture.
Note: 30 years later and the fallout from this nuclear reactor disaster in Ukraine is still contaminating food in Belarus. Why are we still using nuclear power? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing nuclear power news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Jim Withers used to dress like a homeless person. On purpose. Two to three nights a week, he rubbed dirt in his hair and muddied up his jeans and shirt before walking the dark streets of Pittsburgh. Withers wanted to connect with those who had been excluded from his care. "I was actually really shocked how ill people were on the street," he said. "Young, old, people with mental illness, runaway kids, women (who) fled domestic violence, veterans. And they all have their own story." Homelessness costs the medical system a lot of money. Individuals often end up in emergency rooms, and stay there longer, because their illnesses go untreated and can lead to complications. For 23 years, Withers has been treating the homeless - under bridges, in alleys and along riverbanks. "We realized that ... we could make 'house calls,'" he said. It's something that Withers' father, a rural doctor, often did. Withers' one-man mission became a citywide program called Operation Safety Net. Since 1992, the group has reached more than 10,000 individuals and helped more than 1,200 of them transition into housing. In addition to street rounds, the program has a mobile van, drop-in centers and a primary health clinic, all where the homeless can access medical care. In the way I'd like to see things, every person who is still on the streets will have medical care that comes directly to them and says, "You matter." Having street medicine in [the] community transforms us. We begin to see that we're all in this together.
Note: Don't miss the video of Withers' inspiring "street medicine" in action at the CNN link above.
For the first time, a food product created using CRISPR – a promising but controversial gene-editing technique – could be on track to be sold and eaten. And it might be the first of many. Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed that it will not regulate the cultivation and sale of a white-button mushroom created using CRISPR. The decision came in the form of a letter to Yinong Yang, a plant pathologist at Pennsylvania State University who created the new mushroom. Yang's frankenfungi is a simple Agaricus bisporus, the kind of white-button mushroom you could buy at any grocery store. But Yang targeted several genes that code for the protein that causes mushrooms to turn brown as they age or get bruised. The result is a mushroom more resilient to automated harvesting and long storage periods. If you support the labeling of GMOs, the USDA's decision to wave this shroom in without a second thought might strike you as scary. If Yang had tackled mushroom browning by adding bits of genetic code from another organism, it would have been subject to USDA scrutiny as other non-browning produce has been. Until recently, genetic modification required the insertion of foreign viruses or bacteria, but CRISPR is more advanced than that. Because of that loophole, it's not under the USDA's jurisdiction. The EPA only regulates GMOs designed for pest control, and the FDA considers all GMOs to be safe. That leaves this non-browning mushroom cleared for take-off.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Fiona Godlee, editor of the BMJ [British Medical Journal], specializes in the unexpected. [A marionette puppet on her desk is] dressed as a doctor, complete with a stethoscope around its neck. Its strings represent the hidden hand of the pharmaceutical industry. Godlee keeps it ... to remind her of the dark forces at work in science and medicine. And she is blunt about the results: "I think we have to call it what it is. It is the corruption of the scientific process." Hundreds of papers are being pulled from the scientific record, for falsified data, for plagiarism, and for a variety of other reasons that are often never explained. Sometimes it's an honest mistake. But it's estimated that 70 per cent of the retractions are based on some form of scientific misconduct. As the editor of one of the oldest and most influential medical journals, Godlee is leading several campaigns to change the way science is reported, including opening up data for other scientists to review, and digging up data from old and abandoned trials for a second look. She has strong words about the overuse of drugs, and the influence of industry on the types of questions that scientists ask, and the conclusions that are drawn from the evidence. "I do have a belief in the fundamentality of science to correct itself. We can't do that under the blanket of secrecy," she says. It matters, Godlee says, because bad science can be dangerous. "We do know that patients are harmed, and we know that the health systems are harmed as a result of poor science."
Note: Retraction Watch is fascinating reading for anyone interested in what goes on behind science's closed doors. Read also the revealing comments of Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, on the massive corruption she found in the health industry. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Some users of LSD say one of the most profound parts of the experience is a deep oneness with the universe. The sensation ... correlates to changes in brain connectivity while on LSD, according to a study published Wednesday in Current Biology. An MRI scanner [showed that] the brains of people on acid looked markedly different than those on the placebo. Their sensory cortices, which process sensations like sight and touch, became far more connected than usual to the frontal parietal network, which is involved with our sense of self. "The stronger that communication, the stronger the experience of the dissolution (of self)," says Enzo Tagliazucchi, the [study's] lead author. Researchers also measured the volunteers' brain electrical activity with another device. Our brains normally generate a regular rhythm of electrical activity called the alpha rhythm, which links to our brain's ability to suppress irrelevant activity. But in a different paper published on Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, he and several co-authors show that LSD weakens the alpha rhythm. He thinks this weakening could make the hallucinations seem more real. The idea is intriguing ... says Dr. Charles Grob, a psychiatrist at the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center. "They may genuinely be on to something. This should really further our understanding of the brain and consciousness." And, he says, the work highlights hallucinogens' powerful therapeutic potential.
The profound impact of LSD on the brain has been laid bare by the first modern scans of people high on the drug. The images, taken from volunteers ... revealed that trippers experienced images through information drawn from many parts of their brains. Under the drug, regions once segregated spoke to one another. Further images showed that other brain regions that usually form a network became more separated in a change that accompanied users’ feelings of oneness with the world, a loss of personal identity called “ego dissolution”. David Nutt, the government’s former drugs advisor ... and senior researcher on the study, said, “This is to neuroscience what the Higgs boson was to particle physics.” [Study co-author Robin] Carhart-Harris said, “We saw many more areas of the brain than normal were contributing to visual processing under LSD, even though volunteers’ eyes were closed.” The more prominent the effect, the more intense people rated their dreamlike visions. Under the influence, brain networks that deal with vision, attention, movement and hearing became far more connected. But at the same time, other networks broke down. The drug can be seen as reversing the more restricted thinking we develop from infancy to adulthood. The study could pave the way for LSD or related chemicals to be used to treat psychiatric disorders. Nutt said the drug could pull the brain out of thought patterns seen in depression and addiction through its effects on brain networks.
Note: For more, see an NPR article titled "How LSD Makes Your Brain One With The Universe". This ground-breaking study appears in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", studies like this suggest the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more scientifically.
A former Government medical officer responsible for deciding whether medicines are safe has accused the Government of "utterly inexplicable complacency" over the MMR triple vaccine for children. In the late Seventies, Dr Fletcher served as Chief Scientific Officer at the DoH and Medical Assessor to the Committee on Safety of Medicines, meaning he was responsible for deciding if new vaccines were safe. He first expressed concerns about MMR in 2001, saying safety trials before the vaccine's introduction in Britain were inadequate. Now he says the theoretical fears he raised appear to be becoming reality. He said the rising tide of autism cases and growing scientific understanding of autism-related bowel disease have convinced him the MMR vaccine may be to blame. "When scientists first raised fears of a possible link between mad cow disease and an apparently new, variant form of CJD they had detected in just 20 or 30 patients ... millions of cows were slaughtered," said Dr Fletcher. "Yet there has been a tenfold increase in autism and related forms of brain damage over the past 15 years, roughly coinciding with MMR's introduction, and an extremely worrying increase in childhood inflammatory bowel diseases and immune disorders such as diabetes, and no one in authority will even admit it's happening, let alone try to investigate the causes." He said there was "no way" the tenfold leap in autistic children could be the result of better recognition and definitional changes, as claimed by health authorities.
Note: We don't normally use the Daily Mail as a source, but as not other major media are covering this vital development, we felt it important to include this. For more, see this informative article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Robert Lustig is a paediatric endocrinologist at the University of California. A 90-minute talk he gave in 2009, titled Sugar: The Bitter Truth ... argues forcefully that fructose, a form of sugar ubiquitous in modern diets, is a “poison” culpable for America’s obesity epidemic. John Yudkin ... was a British professor of nutrition who had sounded the alarm on sugar back in 1972, in a book called Pure, White, and Deadly. “If only a small fraction of what we know about the effects of sugar were to be revealed in relation to any other material used as a food additive,” wrote Yudkin, “that material would promptly be banned.” The book did well, but Yudkin paid a high price for it. Prominent nutritionists combined with the food industry to destroy his reputation. The US government issued its first Dietary Guidelines [in 1980]. The most prominent recommendation ... was to cut back on saturated fats and cholesterol. Consumers dutifully obeyed. But instead of becoming healthier, we grew fatter and sicker. Look at a graph of postwar obesity rates and it becomes clear that something changed after 1980. Just 12% of Americans were obese in 1950, 15% in 1980, 35% by 2000. Today, as nutritionists struggle to comprehend a health disaster they did not predict and may have precipitated, the field is ... edging away from prohibitions on cholesterol and fat, and hardening its warnings on sugar. But its senior members still retain a collective instinct to malign those who challenge its tattered conventional wisdom too loudly.
Note: The sugar industry skewed US dental research using Big Tobacco's propaganda tactics. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing science corruption news articles from reliable major media sources.
Since HPV vaccines were introduced seven years ago, it has been assumed that they would prevent cervical cancer. But the vaccines have never been shown to prevent any cancer. It has also been assumed for seven years that the vaccine is safe. Yet there have been thousands of adverse event reports. The CDC itself admits there are three times as many adverse events for the HPV vaccine Gardasil as there are for all other vaccines combined. Compared to all other vaccines in the U.S. schedule, Gardasil alone is associated with 61 percent of all serious adverse events, including 63.8 percent of all deaths and 81.2 percent of all permanent disabilities in females under 30 years of age. Japan, India and France have removed HPV vaccines from their recommended list due to safety and efficacy concerns. The Health, Welfare and Labor Ministry of Japan also conducted a national investigation regarding post HPV vaccine injuries, [which] concluded that the harm experienced by women taking the vaccine is overwhelmingly greater than any expected benefits. Prompted by medical reports of post-HPV vaccination arrhythmia and motor neuron disabilities in children in Denmark, the European Medicines Agency is conducting an investigation of HPV injection adverse events. Lawsuits for HPV injuries and deaths have also been filed in Spain, France and Columbia.
Note: Read an article showing that several countries have filed lawsuits claiming damage from the HPV vaccine. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Vitamin D supplements may help people with diseased hearts, a study suggests. A trial on 163 heart failure patients found supplements of the vitamin, which is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight, improved their hearts' ability to pump blood around the body. The Leeds Teaching Hospitals team, who presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, described the results as "stunning". Vitamin D is vital for healthy bones and teeth and may have important health benefits throughout the body but many people are deficient. "The skin's ability to manufacture vitamin D also gets less effective (with age) and we don't really understand why that is," said consultant cardiologist Dr Klaus Witte. Patients were given either a 100 microgram vitamin D tablet or a sugar pill placebo each day for a year. Dr Witte told the BBC News website: "It's as cheap as chips, has no side effects and [leads to] a stunning improvement on people already on optimal medical therapy." The study also showed the patients' hearts became smaller - a suggestion they are becoming more powerful and efficient. Dr Witte ... told the BBC: "Data have shown improvements in heart function, they may show improvements in symptoms and we now need a large study." It is thought every cell in the body responds to the vitamin. Most vitamin D comes from sunlight, although it is also found in oily fish, eggs and is added to some foods such as breakfast cereals.
Note: In 2014, Time Magazine reported on research showing vitamin D improved cancer survival rates. Why has public health policy neglected findings on this beneficial vitamin? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
Major drug companies took hefty price increases in the U.S., in some cases more than doubling listed charges, for widely used medications over the past five years, a Reuters analysis of proprietary data found. Prices for four of the nation's top 10 drugs increased more than 100 percent since 2011, Reuters found. Six others went up more than 50 percent. Together, the price increases on drugs for arthritis, high cholesterol, asthma and other common problems added billions in costs for consumers, employers and government health programs. Extraordinary price hikes by two small companies, Turing Pharmaceuticals and Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc ... drew new attention to drug costs. Turing expected to book $200 million by raising the price of Daraprim, an antiparasitic used for a rare infection, by 5,000 percent, according to company documents released by Congressional investigators. Routine price increases by bigger players may draw less attention, but they add up. Sales for the top 10 drugs went up 44 percent to $54 billion in 2014, from 2011, even though prescriptions for the medications dropped 22 percent, according to IMS Health data. Even after discounts, pharmacy benefit managers told Reuters they pay annual price increases on top medications of up to 10 percent. By comparison, the U.S. consumer price index rose an average of 2 percent annually over the last five years.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing big Pharma profiteering news articles from reliable major media sources.
High-dose vitamin C can boost the cancer-killing effect of chemotherapy in the lab and mice, research suggests. Given by injection, it could potentially be a safe, effective and low-cost treatment for ovarian and other cancers. US scientists ... call for large-scale government clinical trials. Vitamin C has long been used as an alternative therapy for cancer. In the 1970s, chemist Linus Pauling reported that vitamin C given intravenously was effective in treating cancer. However, clinical trials of vitamin C given by mouth failed to replicate the effect, and research was abandoned. It is now known that the human body quickly excretes vitamin C when it is taken by mouth. However, scientists at the University of Kansas say that when given by injection vitamin C is absorbed into the body, and can kill cancer cells without harming normal ones. The researchers injected vitamin C into human ovarian cancer cells in the lab, into mice, and into patients with advanced ovarian cancer. They found ovarian cancer cells were sensitive to vitamin C treatment, but normal cells were unharmed. The treatment worked in tandem with standard chemotherapy drugs to slow tumour growth. "Because vitamin C has no patent potential, its development will not be supported by pharmaceutical companies," said lead researcher Qi Chen. "We believe that the time has arrived for research agencies to vigorously support thoughtful and meticulous clinical trials with intravenous vitamin C."
Note: Read more about this amazing cancer research. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on promising cancer research that has been suppressed by the medical industry.
A disgraced former British surgeon’s new documentary about the discredited link between autism and childhood vaccination has put Robert De Niro at the centre of a medical row that threatens the reputation of his prestigious film festival in New York. De Niro, the father of an autistic child and co-founder of the Tribeca film festival, is standing by the decision to premiere Vaxxed: from Cover-Up to Catastrophe, which has been directed by the controversial Andrew Wakefield. The trailer for Wakefield’s film opens with ominous music as the words “Are our children safe?” appear through a spiral of billowing smoke seeping from a syringe. A key element of the documentary, the trailer claims, will be the testimony of a whistleblower from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US public health body, who is to allege fraud inside an organisation that “knew that vaccines were actually causing autism”. De Niro and his wife, Grace Hightower, issued a statement on Friday, defending the screening. “Grace and I have a child with autism and we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined. In the 15 years since the Tribeca film festival was founded, I have never asked for a film to be screened or gotten involved in the programming. “However this is very personal to me and my family and I want there to be a discussion, which is why we will be screening Vaxxed.
Note: After being subjected to intense pressure, De Niro sadly backed down and pulled this documentary from the festival, as reported in this New York Times article. For more on how this film and how De Niro was pressured see this webpage. Then watch a member of US Congress testify in the Congressional record on major cover-up regarding the relationship between autism and the MMR vaccine. Still more here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing vaccine controversy news articles from reliable major media sources.
Consumers around the country will soon know just by looking at the packaging of popular brands such as Cocoa Puffs cereal or Yoplait yogurt whether or not they contain genetically modified ingredients. Their maker, General Mills, plans to make that information visible on its products nationwide. Other major food companies have since followed, including Kellogg, ConAgra and candy maker Mars. Campbell Soup publicized the same decision in January. The companies are all responding to a Vermont law requiring the labelling of genetically modified foods starting in July, and to pressure from consumers and advocacy groups to reveal more information about controversial ingredients. Between 70% and 80% of packaged food in the US contains ingredients from genetically modified organisms. A genetically modified organism is created in a laboratory by taking genes from one species and inserting these genes into another to breed certain characteristics. Big food companies have historically fought mandatory labelling. They worry that genetic manipulation creates an impression that the food is unnatural or unhealthy. Meanwhile, anti-GMO advocacy groups, such as Center For Food Safety, and food makers who say they don’t use GMOs, including Plum Organics and Nature’s Path, also cast the fight as an issue of transparency, and accuse food makers of hiding important information from the public.
Note: 64 countries now require labelling of GM ingredients. When will the US give its citizens the right to know? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing GMO news articles from reliable major media sources.
In recent years there has been a jump in the percentage of young people diagnosed with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, commonly known as ADHD: 7.8 percent in 2003 to 9.5 percent in 2007 and to 11 percent in 2011. Angela Hanscom, a pediatric occupational therapist ... suggests [that] more children are being diagnosed with ADHD, whether or not they really have it [because of] the amount of time kids are forced to sit while they are in school. "I recently observed a fifth grade classroom as a favor to a teacher," [Hanscom explains]. "The teacher was reading a book to the children and it was towards the end of the day. Kids were tilting back their chairs back at extreme angles, others were rocking their bodies back and forth, a few were chewing on the ends of their pencils, and one child was hitting a water bottle against her forehead. This was not a special-needs classroom, but a typical classroom. We quickly learned after further testing, that most of the children in the classroom had poor core strength and balance. In fact, we tested a few other classrooms and found that when compared to children from the early 1980s, only one out of twelve children had normal strength and balance. Only one!" Many children are walking around with an underdeveloped vestibular (balance) system today - due to restricted movement. With sensory systems not quite working right, they are asked to sit and pay attention. Children naturally start fidgeting in order to get the movement their body so desperately needs.
Note: Prominent ADHD specialist Keith Connors called increasing ADHD rates "a concoction to justify the giving out of medication at unprecedented and unjustifiable levels" in a 2013 New York Times article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing health news articles from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
A group of 22 medical experts convened by Johns Hopkins University and The Lancet have called today for the decriminalization of all nonviolent drug use and possession. The experts further encourage countries and U.S. states to "move gradually toward regulated drug markets and apply the scientific method to their assessment." Their report comes ahead of a special UN General Assembly Session on drugs to be held next month. In a lengthy review of the state of global drug policy, the Hopkins-Lancet experts conclude that the prohibitionist anti-drug policies of the past 50 years "directly and indirectly contribute to lethal violence, disease, discrimination, forced displacement, injustice and the undermining of people’s right to health. "The goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production and trafficking of illicit drugs is the basis of many of our national drug laws, but these policies are based on ideas about drug use and drug dependence that are not scientifically grounded," said Commissioner Dr. Chris Beyrer. "The idea that all drug use is necessarily 'abuse' means that immediate and complete abstinence has been seen as the only acceptable approach," commissioner Adeeba Kamarulzaman ... said. But, she added, "continued criminalization of drug use fuels HIV, hepatitis C and tuberculosis transmission within prisons and the community at large. There is another way. Programmes and policies aimed at reducing harm should be central to future drug policies."
Note: While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more openly, there remains powerful evidence that the CIA and US military are directly involved in the drug trade.
The war on drugs has failed, fuelling higher rates of infection and harming public health and human rights to such a degree that it's time to decriminalize non-violent minor drug offences, according to a new global report. The authors of the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy call for minor use, possession and petty use to be decriminalized following measurably worsened human health. "We've had three decades of the war on drugs, we've had decades of zero-tolerance policy," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, a professor of infectious disease epidemiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore and the senior author of the report published Thursday in The Lancet. "It has had no measurable impact on supply or use, and so as a policy to control substance use it has arguably failed. It has evidently failed." Given that the goal of prohibiting all use, possession, production and trafficking of illicit drugs was to protect societies, the researchers evaluated the health effects and found they were overwhelmingly negative. For a role model, the authors point to Portugal, which decriminalized not only cannabis but also possession of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. HIV transmission, hepatitis C and incarcerations all decreased, Beyrer said, and there was about a 15 per cent decline in substance use by young people in Portugal.
Note: While the war on drugs has been called a "trillion dollar failure", and the healing potentials of mind altering drugs are starting to be investigated more openly, there remains powerful evidence that the CIA and US military are directly involved in the drug trade.
Important Note: Explore our full index to revealing excerpts of key major media news stories on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.