At what is being billed as the most significant high-level gathering on global drug policy in two decades, the stage will be set for world leaders to discuss what would have once been unthinkable -- reversing course in the war on drugs. The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the World Drug Problem, which begins Tuesday in New York, will bring together government, human rights and health leaders to discuss whether the hard-line tactics of combating drug trafficking and money laundering have failed. It will also provide a forum for reformists and government leaders who are pushing for turning the current drug policy on its head by halting drug-related incarcerations, treating drug abuse as a health issue rather than a crime and even legalizing drugs. "The drug control regime that emerged during the last century has proven disastrous for global health, security and human rights," reads a statement to U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that was signed last week by more than 1,000 world leaders, activists and celebrities. The letter urges a complete rethinking of the conventional war on drugs.
The study, from the University of South Australia, found that there are differences between the way marijuana users and non-users walk. Specifically, marijuana users have stiffer shoulders, more flexible elbows and quicker knees, which move faster than those of non-users, while walking. While differences in their movements were detected, there were no significant differences between the balancing abilities and neurological functions of users and non-users. The study's authors are calling for more research that can determine exactly how marijuana affects people's movements, as the drug continues to be legalized in the US. Medical marijuana is legal in 30 US states and Washington, DC.
Anti-abortion groups will no longer be able to use women's post-abortion mental health as an argument to support their stance against abortion as a result of a study indicating there was no significant difference in the mental health of women who had experienced abortions. The study, published in JAMA Psychiatry on Wednesday, tracked about 1,000 women who had abortions within a five-year period and found those who underwent the procedure did not experience more anxiety, depression, low self-esteem or dissatisfaction with life than women who were denied abortions. In contrast, researchers found women who had been denied abortion access because they were too far along in their pregnancies actually had more psychological symptoms following the denial. However, after about six months, their mental health started to improve and became similar to the mental health of women who were able to have an abortion. Although there have been studies comparing the psychological differences between women who had abortions and women who decided to keep their babies, the new research, named the Turnaway Study by University of California, San Francisco's Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health program, is the first to focus solely on the mental health of women close to or beyond the limit of when a clinic is legally able to perform an abortion.
The war on drugs has failed – and certain illegal substances should now be decriminalized, according to some of the world's leading health experts. Instead, the war on drugs and zero-tolerance policies have harmed public health and abused human rights, according to a report from the Johns Hopkins-Lancet Commission on Public Health and International Drug Policy. Drug laws that were intended to protect the public have contributed to disease transmission, lethal violence, discrimination, forced displacement and undermined people's right to health. And so, experts are calling for reforms to drug policy, so that non-violent minor drug offences should be decriminalized, with a greater emphasis on treatment rather than punishment. Global health experts revealed the'war on drugs' has harmed public health and abused human rights.