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Global Failure to Address Illegal Drug Use Adequately, Need for Liver Transplants Due to Heavy Drinking Dramatically Increased During Pandemic, and Mental Health Conditions Affect COVID-19 Risk
Here is a recap of some of the top industry-related news stories of the week:
Global Drug Policy Index: Countries are failing to address illegal drug use adequately
Following recommendations set out by the UN, the Global Drug Policy Index (GDPI) scored national drug policies in terms of health, development, and human rights outcomes. Countries were assessed in categories such as criminal justice response, enforcement, and access to controlled medicines.
GDPI found the punishing effects of nearly all national drug laws lead to issues like police violence and rights violations, and preventing drug users from receiving adequate health care.
The highest scoring nation was Norway, however, they only scored 74 points out of 100. The median score for all nations was just 48.
“Scoring 100 only means that you're implementing what the UN system recognises as the minimum,” said Matt Wall of Swansea University, who helped develop the report's evaluation methods.
The project aims to provide an accountability tool for drug policies that goes beyond traditional effectiveness measures that are limited to only measuring arrests and seizures.
Need for liver transplants due to heavy drinking soared during the pandemic, study finds
Researchers have found that the need for liver transplants because of heavy drinking dramatically increased during the pandemic.
The number of people who got a liver transplant or were put on a waiting list due to alcoholic hepatitis increased by 50% compared to the number forecasted based on pre-pandemic trends.
Alcoholic hepatitis is a condition that often develops after years of heavy drinking or after a short period of excess.
The study showed a positive correlation between the increase in the number of people on the waiting list for a liver due to alcoholic hepatitis and the increase in retail sales of alcohol during the pandemic.
Researchers wrote, “This study provides evidence for an alarming increase in (alcoholic hepatitis) associated with increasing alcohol misuse during COVID-19 and highlights the need for public health interventions around excessive alcohol consumption.”
The CDC adds mental health conditions to high-risk COVID-19 list
The CDC recently added mood disorders to the list of primarily physical conditions that increase the risk of hospitalization or death from COVID-19. This means that millions of Americans are eligible for their booster based on their mental health status alone.
There is much evidence that mental health conditions make individuals of any age more likely to become severely ill from COVID-19.
“We've got reasons to be hypervigilant for people who have depression,” Roger McIntyre, an author of the recent study in JAMA Psychiatry, tells the Washington Post. “They've got to get in front of the queue to get their vaccines.”
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