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Tens of thousands lack pain medication in Senegal

Report: Tens of thousands in Senegal suffer from lack of pain medicine

Tens of thousands lack pain medication in Senegal

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) -- A new report says tens of thousands of people in Senegal are suffering in pain needlessly because they lack access to morphine.

Human Rights Watch said Thursday that the West African country imports only 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of the drug each year -- enough for only 200 people.

The powerful pain medicine that provides relief to those battling cancer and other severe illnesses is only available in the capital.

Senegal's National Pharmacy plans to begin importing more of the drug later this year.

Government regulations, though, require weekly trips for patients to obtain it.

Morphine's use has long been strictly regulated because of the potential for addiction and overdose. Advocates, though, say people in the final stages of cancer are needlessly dying in excruciating pain as a result.