Archived: WMA Resolution on Poppies for Medicine Project for Afghanistan

Adopted by the 59th WMA General Assembly, Seoul, Korea, October 2008
and rescinded at the 69th WMA General Assembly, Reykjavik, Iceland, October 2018

Whereas the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that a small number of countries in the world consume 80% of the opiates legally available worldwide, leaving significant unmet needs in the rest of the world, especially in developing countries;

Whereas morphine and diamorphine play an essential role in the treatment of moderate and severe pain, especially in meeting the pain needs of the growing number of end-stage HIV/AIDS and cancer patients;

Whereas the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) has asked the international community to promote the prescription of painkillers, especially in poor countries, as severe under-treatment is reported in more than 150 countries where hardly anyone in need of treatment is being treated, and in another 30 countries, where under-treatment is even more prevalent or where no data are available;

Whereas there exists an illegal opium crisis in Afghanistan, with growing poppy cultivation and opium production;

Therefore, the World Medical Association:

  • Supports the investigation of possibilities for the controlled production of opium for medical purposes in Afghanistan through a scientific pilot project in Afghanistan; and
  • Urges governments to support a scientific pilot project to investigate whether certain areas of Afghanistan could provide the right conditions for the strictly controlled production of morphine and diamorphine for medical purposes.
Afghanistan, Diamorphine, Morphine, Opiates, Poppies, Trafficking (drugs)