Balance, Pain

The Global Commission on Drug Policy: A new report with a focus on Medicines!

Global Drugs

This week, in New York, the Global Commission on Drug Policy released an important document that addresses what the commission considers to be the failed “War on Drugs.”  Heard it before you say, but look who is among those saying it.

  • Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the UN
  • Michel Kazatchkine UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for AIDS in Eastern Europe and Central Asia
  • the  former Presidents of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland
  • Sir Richard Branson

While the report primarily addresses reforms that permit legal regulation as a means to undermine the power of organized crime, which thrives on illicit drug trafficking, I draw your attention to a key component of the report (the executive summary can be found here):

Ensure equitable access to essential medicines, in particular opiate-based medications for pain

“More that 80% of the world’s population carries a huge burden of avoidable pain and suffering with little or no access to such medication. This state of affairs persists despite the fact that the avoidance of ill health and access to essential medicines is a key objective and obligation of the global drug control regime.

“More governments need to establish clear plans and timelines to remove the domestic and international obstacles to such provision. They also should allocate the necessary funding for an international program-to be overseen by the World Health Organization (WHO) and developed in partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)-to ensure equitable and affordable access to these medicine where they are unavailable”


This has been the goal of the Pain and Policy Studies Group since its formation in 1996 and the work of its members before that. We look forward to ongoing work with our partners, the WHO, UNODC and INCB as well as the many organizations within civil society who are striving to make this a reality! Access to controlled medicines needs to be on the agenda of the UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on Drugs in 2016!



About Pain policy & palliative care

Improving global pain relief by achieving balanced access to opioids worldwide

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