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Worldwide UN Survey Shows Many Impediments to Morphine Availability

Worldwide UN Survey Shows Many Impediments to Morphine Availability

MADISON, Wis-In attempting to increase availability of opiates
for pain, "we are really up against the war on drugs,"
David E. Joranson, MSSW, said, "because it is the same laws
aimed at preventing illicit narcotic trafficking that also control
medical availability of opioid analgesics, and some governments
may be reluctant to relinquish that control."

Mr. Joranson described himself as a "recovering regulator"
who is now working to achieve a more balanced regulation of controlled
drugs through his association with the World Health Organization
(WHO).

Mr. Joranson is director of the Pain and Policy Studies Group
at the University of Wisconsin, and the WHO Collaborating Center
for Policy and Communications in Cancer Care, located on the Wisconsin
campus.

Speaking at the WHO workshop on cancer pain at the Vancouver IASP
(International Association for the Study of Pain) congress, Mr.
Joranson said that health care professionals now have a new tool
to help them in their negotiations with government regulators.

The tool is a report from the International Narcotics Control
Board (INCB)--an organization that is part of the United Nations
and is headquartered in Vienna (see box)--on the availability
of opiates for medical needs that has recently been sent to all
national governments.

"The INCB report will be useful in helping you persuade your
governments to work with you to improve the availability of opioids
or in reinforcing current efforts," he said.

The report is based on a survey conducted last year on opioid
availability and impediments in which 65 of 209 governments responded.
This group, composed of developed and developing nations, represents
50% of the world's population, he said.

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