Because of the widespread use of opioid drugs in treatment of chronic pain, key players from around the world have joined forces to address the pros and cons. Opioids are used around the world to treat patients with severe pain, but people in the medical field interpret global statistics differently. While acknowledging the effectiveness of opioids in treating pain, many express concern about the addictive nature of certain medications. At the same time, certain Third World countries have limited access to opioids, leaving patients with no treatment for agonizing pain. Representatives of several countries reported serious side effects of prescription pain medications, including anxiety, insomnia, depression, and sexual dysfunction. In some cases, studies recommended the close monitoring of patients’ mental health along with pain conditions in order determine the possibility of developing addiction. Other issues included duration of opioid treatment, need for increasing dosages, and long-term benefits. Denmark, Austria, and Germany reported the highest use of opioids, while Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia reported the lowest.
Human Rights Organization Reports Need for Palliative Care
On one hand, U.S. government sources report increasingly devastating misuse of prescription painkillers. On the other hand, the World Health Organization (WHO) provides statistics showing tens of millions people worldwide who suffer unnecessarily from severe chronic pain and life-threatening diseases because they have no access to palliative care. One hospice care advocate said pain treatment is, “adding life to the days, not days to the life.” The need for palliative care, according to WHO reports, is highest in countries where HIV/AIDS is the biggest medical issue. WHO officials have called for increased attention to the issue by health care professionals and policy makers. The ongoing debate becomes a question of the extent to which human begins have an essential right to opioids, which are effective in treating chronic pain. Medical professionals are seeking middle ground between providing relief and opening a Pandora’s box of adverse effects. What are your thoughts on opioid use? Add your thoughts and comments below and follow us on Facebook!