Today, 7 May, the President of the General Assembly, together with the UN’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs, will hold a high-level thematic debate in the lead-up to the April 2016 UN General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the World Drug Problem. The UNGASS will review progress in implementation of the 2009 Political Declaration and Plan of Action on International Cooperation towards an Integrated and Balanced Strategy to Counter the World Drug Problem.
One of the world’s greatest ‘drug problems’ is that in most of the world, people dying of cancer and other painful illnesses do not have access to basic pain relief medication. Low- and middle-income countries account for 83% of the global population, yet consume only 8% of medical morphine worldwide. After being long neglected, the global crisis of untreated pain has begun to receive greater international attention in recent years. It is essential that this continues at the UNGASS.