The Other Opioid Crisis — People in Poor Countries Can’t Get the Pain Medication They Need

March 25, 2016

(Medical Xpress) – There are two opioid crises in the world today. One is the epidemic of abuse and misuse, present in many countries but rising at an alarming rate in the United States. The other crisis is older and affects many more people around the world each year: too few opioids. Hospitals in the U.S. and Europe routinely prescribe opioids for chronic cancer pain, end-of-life palliative care and some forms of acute pain, like bone fractures, sickle cell crises and burns. But patients with these conditions in much of Asia, Africa and Latin America often receive painkillers no stronger than acetaminophen.