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.