Three quarters of world has limited or no access to pain medications

3 Mar 2015

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PHOTO@PAHO

Around 5.5 billion people still have limited or no access to medicines containing narcotic drugs such as codeine or morphine, according to the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB).
Its annual report launched on Tuesday is also highlighting regional trends, such as there being more deaths from drug overdoses in the United States than there are homicides and road accident fatalities.
Stephanie Coutrix reports.
Seventy-five per cent of the world population doesn’t have access to proper pain relief treatment, and those who do primarily live in North America, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
That is one of the key findings of the 2014 annual report of the Vienna-based International Narcotics Control Board.
The document also draws attention to the continued threat posed by new psychoactive substances, of which there are now 388 compared to 348 the previous year.
There has also been an increase of around 66 per cent in the global consumption of methylphenidate, a stimulant primarily used in the treatment of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
In the US alone about 11 per cent of young people between the ages of 4 and 17 years have been diagnosed with ADHD.
Regional trends highlighted include Eastern Africa increasingly becoming a transit route for heroin, and West Asia having a sustained growth in opiate abuse and illicit opium cultivation.
Meanwhile Central America and the Caribbean continue to be exploited by organized criminal groups as a trans-shipment route for illicit drugs.
Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.
Duration: 1’16″