A Push for Balanced Drug Policy Is Transforming Pain Relief in India

A Push for Balanced Drug Policy Is Transforming Pain Relief in India

How do you care for a patient in pain? It’s a deceptively complicated question—one that garners vastly different responses depending on where you are in the world. In some places, pain is poorly understood, and medicines to relieve pain are unavailable or stigmatized.

Dr. M.R. Rajagopal is the founder and chairman of Pallium India, a palliative care organization emphasizing compassionate care and working to ensure patients are offered adequate treatment for their pain. Dr. Rajagopal has dedicated decades to ensuring quality of life for his patients and is a committed advocate for better access to controlled medicines—particularly morphine, an affordable and effective, yet highly stigmatized, treatment.

In 80 percent of the world, political, regulatory, and social barriers—often related to the UN’s International Drug Control Conventions—mean that patients do not receive medication for pain relief. “This is a global issue,” Dr. Rajagopal says. “It really hurts in developing countries.”

Dr. Rajagopal’s advocacy has contributed to law reform in India—a critical step in reducing needless suffering and allowing millions to access pain relief. He is now working with doctors, nurses, patients, and government officials to implement reforms at the state level. India’s growing leadership in palliative care, and recognition of the need for balanced drug policy, will change the lives of millions.

In April, the UN will meet for the General Assembly Special Session on drugs (UNGASS), a chance to move global drug policies in a more compassionate direction. Dr Rajagopal’s work is an excellent example of the potential of this mindset, and proof that our war on drugs must not needlessly claim more victims.

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I hear of minorities in New York hospitals getting inadequate pain meds when, for example, having a gall bladder operation. If your English is bad, you can't be in pain?

Thanks for Dr. Rajagopal's voice in explaining global drug policies ... esp. in the USA ...

Compassionate health care requires pain relief...

Well not responding to patients in pain may be cruel. However continuous usage of pain reliefs do not help suffers of chronic pain.

Mr. Appiah, you belong to a very small group of people with your statement. Before you express an opinion like this, you need to do a very large study with patients who live in high-impact, chronic pain for which there is no cure or alternate treatment that works. Until that study is done, we have to go by what the patients say, don't you think? I belong to a group of 30 million people in the US alone who would disagree with you. My story is short, so I don't have to bore you. Without my medication, I cannot walk, stand, turn, sit, use the bathroom, etc., etc.

I love Dr Rajagopal's phrase about treating the person who must not be seen as only a container for disease to be sent home in pain if there is no cure.

THANK YOU, DOCTOR FOR STATING WHAT SO MANY OF US PATIENTS KNOW, BUT HAVE BECOME BLIND-SIDED BY US GOVERNMENT ENTITIES (CDC, DEA, ETC.) AND ARE FAST REDUCING AND TAKING AWAY OPIOIDS FROM PATIENTS BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IT WILL AFFECT THE "WAR ON DRUGS." OUR VETERANS ARE SUFFERING, PEOPLE LIKE ME ARE 30,000,000 STRONG, WHO HAVE BEEN ON OPIOIDS (ME FOR 15 YEARS) FOR WHICH GIVES ME A LITTLE BIT OF A LIFE. PLEASE READ THE NATIONAL PAIN REPORT ONLINE. LOOK FOR SOME OF MY ARTICLES AND MANY MORE FROM PATIENTS Pen name: (Krissy Anderson) PLEASE HELP US OFFICIALS AT THIS CONFERENCE. THEY MUST BE SWAYED BY MONEY BECAUSE THEY DIDN'T ALL OF A SUDDEN AGREE THAT OPIOIDS DON'T WORK! I WILL PASS THIS ON TO A FEW HUNDRED PEOPLE I KNOW.

And now right here in America cronlc pain patients are being untreated leaving them to turn to the streets or go through untreated withdraws only to still be left with untreated pain or even worse choosing to end their pain by suicide. Thanks to this over blown War on Drugs now in this country ..

Kristine, thank you for writing. I totally agree that this "war on drugs" has been swayed by money because why would they change this so abruptly. If there were really alternative modalities for pain treatment, would you not think those would have been in place before taking everyone off of their meds. I cannot have much of a life without help from drugs. I cannot go anywhere, clean my house, cook. With meds, I can do much more.

I agree with you to the extent that palliative care cannot turn into addiction. People with incurable diseases need to be relieved.

Its unbelievable to think the governments are more worried about addiction than patients who need the morphine for their agonising pain. Its all down to money I expect, The
danger of not giving more pain relief medication there will be more patients killing themselves as they cannot stand the pain constantly every single day. What can you do to help the people of today please?

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