Policy Issues

2013; Volume 14, No 7, July

Policy Issues

This section is written by Katherine Pettus, PhD, a lifetime member of IAHPC. Dr Pettus is a scholar of international law and drug policy committed to promoting access to palliative care, and human rights. This section highlights her participation in several international meetings and conferences related to drug policy and her proposal for collaborative advocacy strategies to ensure that all patients have access to care they need. Katherine has participated in palliative care meetings and initiatives with a global scope. She will serve as the IAHPC representative to several drug control policy meetings and discussions. Katherine will be teaching American Politics and International Relations at the University of Pécs, in Hungary.

IAHPC as a network member of the IDPC

The International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC) is a global network of more than one hundred NGOs and professional networks. It promotes objective and open debate about drug policy issues at the national and international levels. The London based organization supports evidence-based policies that are effective in reducing drug-related harms such as the lack of access to opioid medicine for palliative care and harm reduction, among other human rights violations. IDPC's vision is that international and national drug policies and programs are grounded in the principles of human rights, social inclusion and public health. They should involve policy making processes that are transparent and in which policy makers engage meaningfully with civil society, particularly with affected populations (such as people who use drugs and subsistence farmers engaging in the illicit cultivation of crops used for the production of controlled substances). IDPC has welcomed IAHPC as a network member whose mission is to promote access to palliative care and essential medicines for vulnerable populations around the world.

Katherine's role as an IAHPC representative to IDCP is to increase awareness about how restrictive drug policies also affect access to patients in pain and palliative care settings. Her focus is on the cross over issues generated by the international narcotics control regime supervised by the UN, with a specific focus on human rights. Her latest contribution in the IDCP website “Palliative care and drug policy: Two world collide” focuses on the contradictions found in the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which although it is considered to be a public health document, in fact focuses mostly on issues of fiscalization and control. The figure below represents the count of different words used in the Single Convention.

The full report can be seen here.

More news: The UN Human Rights Council and Essential Medicines


The Human Rights Council in its 23rd session has approved a resolution on Essential Medicines, called:Access to medicines in the context of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The resolution can be downloaded from the Human Rights section in the IAHPC website here.

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