I don't smoke, but I find myself fascinated by and passionate about the debate over e-cigarettes. Why? Because e-cigarettes illustrate how harm reduction approaches to drug policy, particularly maintenance or substitution therapies, are at once both filled with promise and deeply misunderstood.
The U.S., using public health approaches, has made incredible strides in reducing the number of smokers. But 480,000 people in the U.S. will die from cigarette smoking each year, a number that has remained relatively stable since 2004. While education, prevention and cessation programs must continue, these strategies are unlikely to result in the kind of big reductions in smoking at the population level that we have seen in the past. Many of those still smoking simply cannot or will not quit.
Today, the Obama administration is announcing a comprehensive set of new federal actions to combat the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and protect public health. Additionally, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) is releasing a related report on Combating Antibiotic Resistance.
The discovery of antibiotics in the early 20th century fundamentally transformed medicine; antibiotics now save millions of lives each year in the United States and around the world. Yet bacteria repeatedly exposed to the same antibiotics can become resistant to even the most potent drugs. These so-called antibiotic-resistant bacteria can present a serious threat to public health, national security, and the economy.
In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic-resistant infections are associated with an additional 23,000 deaths and 2 million illnesses in the United States each year. The estimated annual impact of antibiotic-resistant infections on the national economy is $20 billion in excess direct health care costs, and as much as $35 billion in lost productivity from hospitalizations and sick days. Antibiotics are also critical to many modern medical interventions, including chemotherapy, surgery, dialysis, and organ transplantation.
“It relieves pain five times faster than normal drugs”. This is the slogan used to advertise a painkiller on one of the local radio stations. With such catchy adverts, many people are lured into buying these drugs with the hope that it will relieve them of pain soon after swallowing.
While it is possible to experience short-term relief, doctors warn of the dangers of over relying on painkillers to manage pain. According to health experts, over or misuse of painkillers can damage the liver, kidney and affect hearing, especially among women.
A Harvard University study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology suggests that women who frequently use painkillers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen (tylenol) have an increased risk of developing hearing complications. “Women who took these pain relievers at least twice a week were more likely to experience hearing loss, and more frequent usage increased the risk by up to 24 per cent,” the study reveals.
A Primary One pupil of Namwaya Primary School in Nagongera Sub-county Tororo District yesterday surprised a school assembly when he tasked the district chairperson, Mr Emmanuel Osuna to explain the circumstances under which their school operates without a pit latrine.
Mr Osuna had paid a visit to the school to find out how much the school is doing towards the feeding of children.