How Widely Available Is Morphine In The World?

POSTED ON: By Keri Blakinger 29th October 2015.

Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report last week detailing the lack of access to painkillers across the globe.

Ninety-two percent of the world’s morphine is taken by just 17% of the world’s population.

That was just one of the conclusions of the Global Commission on Drug Policy’s report released last week at the 24th International Harm Reduction Conference, held in Malaysia.

Global access to painkillers is spotty and largely concentrated in the northern half of the globe. Three-quarters of the world’s population has no relief to painkillers, even in late stages of cancer and during acute pain.

Surprisingly, the biggest barrier to broader access is not cost or lack of supply, but drug policy.

“Under current drug control policies, African access to essential medication for pain management is highly restricted,” said GCDP member and former UN Secretary Kofi Annan said in a press release. ” We know that 90% of morphine is prescribed in North America and Europe. In many developing countries, patients with terminal cancer suffer needlessly because doctors cannot prescribe medication due to the misapplication or misunderstanding of the UN drug conventions. But we must make sure that access to the essential medicines on the WHO model lists does not become a casualty of the War on Drugs.”


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