When it comes to opium production, India is one of the largest producers and exporters of opium. But while India supplies the world with opioids—the cheapest, most effective painkillers out there—the story back home is very different. We are only equipped to provide opioids for 40,000 patients—less than 1% of the national requirement. At the moment, opioid painkillers are used mostly as anaesthesia for severe cases such as road accidents or surgeries.
All pain, no gain: India’s own opioid crisis
Less than 1% of terminally ill Indians have access to opioid painkillers in India. As a result, one doctor says, everyone suffers. The poor die of neglect, middle-class dies of ignorance, and the rich die on ventilators
India is a leading manufacturer and exporter of opium, which is used to make medicinal opioids. But only a small number of Indian patients have access to them
India’s strict laws for manufacturing, stocking, and prescribing these drugs has led to a lack of access
Stigma of abuse and lack of training has instilled a culture of excessive caution in doctors, while patients are either unaware of their options or afraid of addiction
Ayurveda, through its patient-centric approach, has solutions in managing pain and improving quality of life, but has to tread a fine line to influence policy