Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scrap 'unwinnable' drugs war and divert funds into curbing global antibiotic misuse, experts say

Date:
February 20, 2013
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
Governments around the world should stop squandering resources fighting an "unwinnable war" against illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Instead, they should use the cash to curb antibiotic misuse, which poses a far more serious threat to human health, claims a leading ethicist.

Governments around the world should stop squandering resources fighting an "unwinnable war" against illegal drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Instead, they should use the cash to curb antibiotic misuse, which poses a far more serious threat to human health, claims a leading ethicist in the Journal of Medical Ethics.

Related Articles


Dr Jonny Anomaly, of Duke University, Durham in North Carolina, USA, says that concerted collective action is needed to tackle the excessive and casual prescribing of antibiotics, which has led to a worrying rise in resistance to these medicines.

"Government action is both more appropriate and more likely to be effective in regulating antibiotics than it is in criminalising narcotics," he writes.

Dr Anomaly says the arguments put forward for continuing to plough resources into the war on illegal drugs, such as the need to curb the related violence and social harms, should, of course, be taken seriously.

But he contends that "most of the violence and crime associated with narcotics is caused by laws that prohibit drug use, rather than drug use itself." And the argument that stimulant drugs increase violent tendencies is not based on strong evidence, he says.

He accepts that a drug habit takes its toll on friends and family, but argues that this does not justify treating this behaviour as a crime.

And while supporters of tough action on illegal drugs fear that the absence of harsh penalties will simply make it easier to get hold of them, Dr Anomaly points to the evidence in Portugal -- the only country that has decriminalised recreational drug use.

This "suggests that consumption has not significantly increased for most drugs, and has actually declined for some…greater accessibility does not necessarily lead to more drug use by either adults or children," he writes.

At the very least antibiotic resistant infections have the power to harm others and make illness more costly to treat, and they can often kill, he warns.

"This feature gives antimicrobial drugs a fundamentally different moral status from recreational drugs, and it suggests that current policy priorities are based on moral confusion, scientific ignorance, or both," he suggests.

He puts forward several possible ways of tackling antibiotic resistance.

These include phasing out the use of these drugs in farming, along with factory farming; cash incentives for pharmaceutical companies to conserve existing drugs; banning over the counter sales of antibiotics in developing nations; and global surveillance of resistant bacteria, spearheaded by the world's wealthy nations.

In addition to this, a flat user fee should be levied on courses of antibiotics, the monies from which could be used to fund antibiotic research, he suggests.

"A user fee would not be a panacea. But it could be a crucial part of a multidimensional approach to the problem of resistance. User fees are especially attractive because of their fairness and simplicity," he says.

[Collective action and individual choice: rethinking how we regulate narcotics and antibiotics Online First doi: 10.1136/medethics-2012-101160]


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Anomaly. Collective action and individual choice: rethinking how we regulate narcotics and antibiotics. Journal of Medical Ethics, 2013; DOI: 10.1136/medethics-2012-101160

Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Scrap 'unwinnable' drugs war and divert funds into curbing global antibiotic misuse, experts say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220184955.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2013, February 20). Scrap 'unwinnable' drugs war and divert funds into curbing global antibiotic misuse, experts say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220184955.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Scrap 'unwinnable' drugs war and divert funds into curbing global antibiotic misuse, experts say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220184955.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

The Best Tips to Curb Holiday Carbs

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) It's hard to resist those delicious but fattening carbs we all crave during the winter months, but there are some ways to stay satisfied without consuming the extra calories. Vanessa Freeman (@VanessaFreeTV) has the details. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

Sierra Leone Bikers Spread the Message to Fight Ebola

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) More than 100 motorcyclists hit the road to spread awareness messages about Ebola. Nearly 7,000 people have now died from the virus, almost all of them in west Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins