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India’s Epidemic Of Pain

The epidemic of pain in India

The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers medical morphine as the gold standard to combat pain, which is essential to provide end-of-life care for patients struggling with life threatening ailments such as HIV/AIDS and cancer.

Despite its recognition as a proven and efficacious drug, access to medical morphine continues to remain a challenge for patients in India; only 1% actually receive pain relief from morphine. Ironically, for decades the country has for been one of the world’s leading producers of the drug, yet it's people fail to reap the benefits.

Though India amended its Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) in 2014 in order to make opioids available for pain relief and prevent misuse, 29 state governments have not ratified it, hence the amended act remains ineffective in combating India’s continuing epidemic of pain.

Nagpur is the oral cancer capital of the world and has some of the country’s highest numbers of women suffering from breast and cervical cancer. WIN sees first-hand the distress of those unable to access adequate pain relief. Individuals can receive morphine in the local government hospital but once discharged they’re only able to receive pain control through over the counter analgesics.

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