Outdated drug policies leave millions of Africans in agony

The war on drugs has hurt patients who need painkillers
The Economist (UK)
Thursday, January 31, 2019

Providing palliative care without morphine is like “driving a car without fuel”, says Emmanuel Luyirika, of the Kampala-based African Palliative Care Association in Uganda. It is also unnecessary, because opioids are cheap. Providing pain relief for their populations can cost governments as little as $2-16 per person each year, according to a study commissioned by the Lancet. The morphine shortage stems from bad policies. In the 1980s and 1990s, as part of its “war on drugs”, America cut aid and imposed sanctions on countries that were not tough enough on trafficking. It listed Nigeria as unco-operative from 1994 to 1998 (during a criminal dictatorship), suspended military aid and blocked loans.