Judge describes drug issues as worrying

first_imgTwitter Facebook NewsLocal NewsJudge describes drug issues as worryingBy admin – April 20, 2009 409 Previous articleViewers voted Celia most stylish woman on TVNext articleExperience the ancient art of Threading admin Print Linkedincenter_img Email A LIMERICK District Court Judge has described as “worrying” the increase in instances where members of the public attempt to pass drugs to prisoners while in custody in Limerick Prison. Judge Tom O’Donnell’s comments came as a 27-year-old woman appeared before a sitting of Limerick District Court charged with bringing a controlled substance into Limerick Prison contrary to Sec 15(c) of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1977.Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter Sign Up The county Limerick woman appeared before Judge O’Donnell where the court was told that the accused allegedly attempted to pass 55 tablets to a prisoner during a visit.The arresting officer, Garda Colleran, told the court of prison officers apprehending the woman as she attempted to orally pass the tablets to a prisoner.Defence solicitor, Sarah Ryan, addressed the court following hearing details of the incident and noted that the drug in question was prescribed to the woman for pain relief following a very bad car accident in which she suffered injuries to her back.Judge O’Donnell noted that these types of offences are on the increase and worryingly, many go undetected and are very serious.“I must congratulate and praise the work of the prison officers and the gardai in this incident as these types of crimes are on a very serious rise.“I’ve noted at least three or four of these in the early parts of this year and its something that could get out of hand very easily.“I must also say that the doctor in question would be very disappointed to know that a patient of theirs would be obtaining tablets, pain killers in this instance, and keeping them to pass on to others.“These are disturbing times for such crimes but I do take into account the early plea and the co-operation offered by the accused. I also note the seriousness of the mitigating factors for the defendant”.Marking the facts of the case proven, Judge O’Donnell issued that a probation report be submitted to the court and subsequent to that, issued bail terms of 100 euro to the accused.The court will hear the findings of the report on June 11. WhatsApp Advertisementlast_img read more

Interview: Humza Yousaf MSP

first_img“Our approach to this issue is fundamentally as a public health rather than as a policing and crime issue. But from a policing perspective we have had successes in tackling serious organised crime and bringing to justice the criminals responsible for the proliferation of drugs among deprived communities.” Yousaf has been asked by Westminster whether the police forces in Scotland might be pooled as a last resort in the event of any consequences from a no-deal Brexit. “The resilience of the police force is much greater in Scotland. There is a potential to pool resources from Scotland if necessary. However, if there is a belief that Scottish forces are going to be used simply to plug the gap in an under resourced police in England and Wales, then the government are misguided.” Next we discuss drug addiction in Scotland. According to the National Records of Scotland, drug-related deaths in Scotland are the highest per capita in the EU, and show no signs of declining: the rate is up 27% on last year’s figures. Is the Scottish government taking the matter seriously? “It would be foolish of the SNP not to learn from Theresa May: she has written the manual for how not to negotiate a withdrawal agreement.” Humza says.  As justice secretary, does Humza share any responsibility in this drugs crisis? “Decriminalisation is a reserved power so it’s not something that I as justice secretary in Scotland can change. However, I would be keen to see the introduction of drug treatment centres across Scotland, following their relative success in other parts of Europe. But how long would such a mandate last? For a fixed term, or until some prearranged milestone had been reached? Brexit has presented itself as quite the quandary for the SNP. On the one hand, given that three in five Scottish votes supported remain, it’s easier to make the case to this pro-remain base that it’s in Scotland’s interest to leave the UK. On the other hand, following three years of turmoil in Westminster over Brexit and without a clear resolution in sight, even the most dyed in the wool indy ref 2 supporters might be thinking to themselves, “could I go through all of this again? Could I stomach another three years of this?” How do the SNP quell these concerns? The answer it would appear, is to frame the handling of Brexit as a question of competence. “The first thing that government would have to do is to remove the threat of no deal. Once that has been achieved, it would be my preference that we hold a people’s vote, to give people a chance to revaluate their decision given the complexities involved which we now know.” “In the same way that the lyrics of love songs seem hackneyed and clichéd until you first experience true love, the things people often say about becoming a parent really are true: I do feel I have a whole new perspective on life. “I drew the line when these abusive comments were directed at my newborn baby daughter. I had put up a picture of the new baby box I’d bought for her, and it was after reading some of the appalling comments below that I decided I’d had enough. Just recently Humza had been on paternity leave following the birth of his first child. He makes no secret about the effect that becoming a father has had on him: “Being a dad is the best thing in the world. “The SNP are not the biggest fans of Jeremy Corbyn, not least because we don’t think his position on Brexit have been firm enough. But the consequences of a no deal Brexit would be utterly catastrophic.” Humza tells me.  “My first day after paternity leave – being away from my daughter for a whole day – was especially tough. Most nights I get home late from work so I don’t get the chance to cuddle her as much as I’d like.” “As Justice Secretary I’m not in a position to comment on what remains an ongoing case. In terms of the costs involved, clearly, the government did not want to be in that position.” Just three days before we meet, the Scottish government paid out half a million pounds in legal fees to Alex Salmond after admitting it failed to meet its own guidelines in investigating him over sexual harassment claims. This admission was a serious victory for Alex Salmond, who had called the investigation “grossly unfair” and has undermined the credibility and rigor of the government’s sexual complaints investigative procedure. Perhaps understandably, Humza was not keen to discuss this for very long. “I used to know Alex Salmond well and work closely with him. Yousaf has recently decided to suspend use of his Twitter account, following a spate of online abuse. “My decision to give up Twitter was a bit of a slow burn. It would start with tens of abusive comments a day, which would become hundreds if I put out a particular tweet or there was some particular news about me. “I may return to Twitter later, but for the moment, I think there are more important things in life.” Last week, Jeremy Corbyn put forward plans to lead a temporary unity government in Westminster – a coalition of pro-remain parties to avoid a no-deal Brexit. With Jo Swinson, leader of the Lib Dems, expressing a reluctance to support the proposal, instead touting the 79-year-old Conservative MP Ken Clarke as preferable interim prime minister, eyes had turned to the SNP’s 35-strong Westminster presence for an offer of support. Could Jeremy’s idea fly? “We need to make the case for a Scottish independence that would bring all points of view together, rather than a version of independence that appeals only to the fringes and the extremes, in the way that Theresa May had done with Brexit.” A soft Scottish exit seems to be the way forward. I catch Humza outside the Grand Hall of the Stand Comedy Club at the Fringe, where he has just made an appearance to discuss Scottish politics, in a light-hearted manner, with a fairly sympathetic crowd. Not long before the show began, the Scottish Justice Secretary had left one of the government’s confidential government Cobra meetings, and was guarded about what was discussed. Humza’s capacity to make such a quick yet smooth transition from serious top-secret government meeting to having a laugh at the comedy club could be seen as exemplary of an astute, dexterous politician. But as far as Humza is concerned, the real clowning around is in Number 10.   “Far from avoiding a no deal which would be catastrophic, no deal Brexit has become a real policy choice for the government. No deal Brexit is now being looked at as an opportunity, which is beyond my comprehension. I’m more concerned now than I was previously.” “If the remain parties in Westminster get together to form a pact, then as leader of the opposition, Jeremy would have a mandate to lead it.” “That figure is a stain on the collective conscience of the Scottish government,” Humza tells me. “It is not something where we can simply shrug our shoulders and accept it. We must do everything we can to prevent further deaths.”  Before we part company, and before I dash across Princes Street to catch the 3pm Oxford Revue performance, I wonder whether Humza will also be paying a visit to some shows at the Fringe (while he’s not starring in them).  “I’ve got family coming over from London and Saudi Arabia, and we’ll be going to a few shows together.” Will he be seeing any politics shows, like the one he just hosted? “I’ve got enough politics in my life.”last_img read more

Improving health care in China, U.S.

first_imgHealth officials from China and the United States gathered at Harvard on Wednesday to examine successful reforms around the world and to exchange information on their own efforts, as the two global giants seek ways to extend access, improve quality, and lower the cost of care to their citizens.Participants at the two-day event, the “Harvard America-China Health Summit,” sponsored by the Harvard School of Public Health‘s China Initiative, packed Harvard Medical School’s Joseph B. Martin Conference Center. The conference opened with twin keynote addresses by Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Sherry Glied and Chinese Minister of Health Chen Zhu.Panel discussions touched on a range of topics, including lessons to be learned from other nations’ reform efforts, traditional Chinese medicine, chronic disease control, the role of information technology, the relationship between doctors and drug companies, and how best to achieve universal coverage at low cost.Dean Julio Frenk of the Harvard School of Public Health presented the example of health reform in Mexico. A key element of reform, Frenk said, was mobilizing public opinion and switching expectations from health care being a benefit of employment to it being a right given to all citizens.The image of China that emerged from the early sessions Wednesday was of a nation with universal coverage where access and quality of care vary widely. The discussion also showed a nation grappling with shifting health problems as recent economic growth enlarges its middle class.Chronic diseases often thought of as occurring mainly in Western, industrialized nations are emerging in China, where type 2 diabetes has become a major health problem, environmental pollution from rapid industrialization exacts a toll, and mental health troubles, plagued by stigma and poor training of providers, are often untreated.Roughly “173 million adults have mental disorders in China; 158 million never get help,” said Harvard Asia Center Director Arthur Kleinman, the Rabb Professor of Anthropology in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychiatry and medical anthropology at Harvard Medical School, who has conducted research on mental health in China since 1978. “There’s much to be done in this area.”Chen said the cost of improving care remains a hurdle, which is why China is looking to other nations for cost-effective solutions.“With limited funding, we have to choose suitable, affordable, effective technology,” Chen said. “We are looking at examples from any other country.”Chen said that the government is pushing to address environmental problems and that solutions extend beyond the reach of the health ministry alone. A number of ministries are collaborating to address problematic issues, with a focus on heavy metals, noise pollution, and persistent chemical contamination. In addition, he said, local governments are also focusing more on cleaning up the environment.As for the United States, health care reforms approved last year are already bearing fruit, Glied said. Senior citizens have seen medication costs decrease, and about a million young adults under age 26 have insurance coverage because of the reforms.Glied said the U.S. government is continuing to draft regulations to put aspects of the law into effect, including ones that would regulate “accountable care organizations,” or groups whose pay is linked to their ability to meet care standards while keeping costs down. Drafting those regulations is proving tricky, Glied said, as regulators seek to balance ways to discourage excess treatment while ensuring patients still get the care they need. Information will be key to the system, but regulations have to balance the need for data with patients’ desires for privacy.Dean Julio Frenk of the Harvard School of Public Health presented the example of health reform in Mexico, which he oversaw as minister of health there from 2000 to 2006. A key element of reform, Frenk said, was mobilizing public opinion and switching expectations from health care being a benefit of employment — as it generally is in the United States — to it being a right given to all citizens.Mexican health reformers employed an evidence-based approach that highlighted the system’s shortcomings. In 2000, roughly half of Mexico’s population was uninsured, and the major way that health care was funded nationally was through out-of-pocket expenditures. Paying for health care had become the leading cause of family and business bankruptcy.The resulting changes created government agencies, new funding sources for community health operations, and set universal coverage as the goal. Mexico expects to achieve that in 2012, Frenk said.“The key is to start with an end in mind,” Frenk said. “In Mexico, we started with defined goals and came up with a series of reforms to achieve them.”Reforms in the United Kingdom have had successes, but also some failures, according to Simon Stevens, executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group and a health adviser to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.By the late 1990s, public opinion of Britain’s government-run health system was at a low, with just one in three of those surveyed expressing satisfaction. Care was characterized by long waiting times for even routine care, Stevens said. People could wait as long as a year and a half for a joint replacement, for example.Britain increased spending, built new facilities, and ramped up training of health professionals, Stevens said. Over the years since, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of nurses, a 40 percent increase in the number of doctors, and a 55 percent increase in the number of students admitted to medical school. The result has been an increase in public satisfaction, to 64 percent, in recent years.One area where things haven’t gone well has been with intended reforms in electronic medical records, Stevens said. The British medical information technology system has been deemed a major failure despite enormous cost. Stevens said he believed that the U.S. approach in its recent health care reform legislation, which provides incentives for changes in early years and penalties for not adopting adequate electronic record-keeping systems in later years, will prove more fruitful.Stevens said one of the most important things that health ministers can do to spur reform is to highlight health problems in the system. By making clear the current system’s shortcomings, they will build momentum toward reform, he said.“The move to transparency has to be the key to reform,” Stevens said.Britain is continuing to work to improve care, Stevens added. It has a public website containing statistics on hospitals that includes patient commentary. Britain has created a system to fight the rise of chronic diseases related to lifestyle by letting primary-care doctors earn up to 30 percent more if they show improvement on key indicators.Similar reforms may be important in the United States, Stevens said, because the obesity rate here has doubled over the past 20 years, and some projections see more than half of U.S. adults being diabetic or pre-diabetic by 2020.last_img read more