“Americans are increasingly addicted to opioids. Meanwhile people in poor countries die in agony without them”, says this recent article in The Economist that explores how ‘tighter prescribing’ to prevent abuse has caused unintended harm elsewhere.
“The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), an independent monitor that oversees the implementation of UN drug conventions, estimates that 92% of all morphine, an opioid commonly used to control the pain caused by cancer, is consumed in America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and parts of western Europe—which between them hold only 17% of the world’s population.”
“A report in 2009 by Human Rights Watch found that of some 300 Indian medical colleges, only five taught palliative care. The consequence is that few doctors know how to prescribe opioids safely. Even for patients with advanced cancer, they avoid morphine.”