The Pain & Policy Studies Group (PPSG) has been designated the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Pain Policy and Palliative Care since 1996. Its International Program, which guides the activities of the WHOCC, has been involved with evaluation of legislation, policy analysis and development, demonstration porjects, outcomes monitoring, education and communications. PPSG participates in international and national meetings for health professionals and government officials, provides technical assistance to government and non-government organizations, and promotes better understanding of the principle of balance that should guide national narcotics control policy to ensure availability of opioid pain medications under adequate control to prevent abuse and diversion.
The International Program develops methods, models, and resources to examine opioid availability trends, identify barriers to opioid availability in national laws, regulations and distribution systems, develop collaborative national projects to diagnose barriers and develop action plans to improve national policy, and monitor outcomes.
The PPSG led the creation of “Guidelines for Achieving Balance in National Opioids Control Policy,” issued by the WHO in 2000. Formally endorsed by the International Narcotics Control Board, this important tool, consisting of 16 Guidelines, provides the background and rationale for national policy and systems evaluation and revision to improve availability and patient access to opioid analgesics.
An important PPSG product is its signature opioid availability workshops, which convene stakeholders in regional action planning workshops to identify and address barriers to opioid availability and access. Since 2000, the PPSG has hosted or taken part in numerous regional opioid availability workshops for more than 50 countries.
Another critical PPSG product is the International Pain Policy Fellowship (IPPF), inaugurated in 2006 with funding from the International Palliative Care Initiative (IPCI) of the Open Society Institute (OSI), and sustained by IPCI and Livestrong. This program trains competitively selected experts in pain management and palliative care from developing countries how to evaluate and improve opioid availability policy and distribution in their country. Following a 5-day training session in Madison, Wisconsin, the Fellows return home with partial salary support to implement their action plan with close technical assistance from PPSG staff and other volunteer expert mentors.
The PPSG accomplishes its international communications work in several ways, including an extensive website, news alerts, and through social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and our blog. The PPSG website includes individual Country Profiles that provide data and trend graphs for the national reported consumption of principal opioids.
To subscribe to the PPSG email news, please visit http://www.painpolicy.wisc.edu/newslist.htm and complete the online form.