By Sara Boseley

More than 25 million people, including 2.5 million children, die in agony every year around the world, for want of morphine or other palliative care, according to a major investigation.

Poor people cannot get pain relief in many countries of the world because their needs are overlooked or the authorities are so worried about the potential illicit use of addictive opioids that they will not allow their importation.

“Staring into this access abyss, one sees the depth of extreme suffering in the cruel face of poverty and inequity,” says a special report from a commission set up by the Lancet medical journal.

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