Breaking News:Dangerous Delays: What Washington State (Re)Teaches Us About Cash and Cannabis Store Robberies [REPORT]

Pain Treatment: INCB Calls for Greater Access to Opioid Medicines in Developing World

As part of its 2007 Annual Report, released Wednesday, the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) issued a press release saying that "ensuring access to pain treatment medicines is vital and possible." Millions of people around the world are suffering chronic and acute pain because narcotic pain medications are not being sufficiently used, the group said.

The INCB is a 23-member independent commission that works with the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), its Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) and other international organizations to monitor implementation of the series of international treaties that form the legal backbone of the global prohibition regime. While its remit includes ensuring adequate supplies of drugs are available for medical and scientific uses, it spends most of its resources trying to prevent any deviations from the global prohibitionist drug policy status quo. (See related story here.)

According to the INCB, while global consumption of opioid pain relievers has more than doubled in the past decade, the vast majority of that growth has occurred in Europe and North America, which together accounted for 89% of global morphine consumption in 2006. By contrast, the 80% of the global population that lives in developing countries consumed only 6% of the morphine supply. In some countries, access to morphine is "extremely low and almost non-existent for most of the population," the group said.

The situation is similar for some other opioids such as fentanyl and oxycodone. In 2006, Europe and North America accounted for 96% of global fentanyl consumption and 97% of oxycodone, the group reported.

The lack of sufficient access to these powerful pain medications is "due to diverse interrelated factors such as inadequate medical education of health professionals and lack of knowledge and skills in pain treatment, public attitude, regulatory impediments or economic constraints," the INCB said. In a slap at proposals to deal with Afghan opium production by licensing it and diverting it into the legal medicinal market, as the Senlis Council has suggested, the INCB said global supply was at high levels and not the problem.

"Suggestions to further increase the supply of raw materials by using opium from the illicit production in Afghanistan do not address the cause of the problem. Governments should focus on measures to increase demand for pain-relief medication in line with the recommendations of INCB and WHO," said INCB President Philip Emafo.

The INCB said it urged governments to identify obstacles to adequate access to narcotic pain medications and to take steps to improve their availability. It also announced that, in consultation with the World Health Organization (WHO), it had created the Access to Controlled Medications Program to address identified impediments. The group urged all governmental and concerned international organizations to cooperate with the WHO, and called on governments to pony up some cash to pay for it.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!

Pain relief?

If they would just hand them some seeds and dirt they could make their own pain relief. Seems it could be way more cost effective than dosing em up. Though it would take profit from big pharma and they can't have that!

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, Vaping, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School