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"Please Don't Make Us Suffer Anymore": Access to Pain Treatment as a Human Right

With support from the Open Society Institute International Palliative Care Initiative, Human Rights Watch released a groundbreaking report on the lack of access to pain relief medicines for millions of patients worldwide. 

The report, "Please Don't Make Us Suffer Anymore": Access to Pain Treatment as a Human Right, finds that countries can significantly improve access to pain medications by addressing the causes of their poor availability, which include the following:

  • failure to put in place functioning supply and distribution systems
  • absence of government policies to ensure medicine availability
  • insufficient instruction for health care workers
  • excessively strict drug-control regulations
  • fear of legal sanctions among healthcare workers

"Please Don't Make Us Suffer Anymore" notes that international law requires states to make narcotic drugs available for the treatment of pain while preventing abuse, but that the strong international focus on preventing abuse of such drugs has led many countries to neglect that obligation.

The full report is available in PDF format. French, Russian, and Spanish versions are available on the HRW website.

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