Katherine Irene Pettus, Phd, IHPC representative to IDPC.

The ATOME project is an EU funded consortium of ten academic institutions and public health organisations formed to address the crisis of access to opioids for pain relief and harm reduction in twelve target countries.  In each country, local health and policy experts team up with international consultants to review legislation and clinical practice relating to all aspects of regulatory control of medical opioids.  The goal is to align countries with WHO human rights and evidence based clinical standards in order to relieve avoidable suffering and improve public health outcomes, and the product will be individual country reports with targeted recommendations for legislative and policy change. Workshops have been held in Latvia, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey, and most recently Hungary (see here for meeting reports). 

What makes the ATOME project so unusual is that it brings together medical and policy professionals from the national palliative care and harm reduction movements to learn about common issues pertaining to outdated or inappropriate government control of opioids and real time impacts on the vulnerable populations they serve.  These collaborative meetings are often the first opportunity these providers have ever had to meet and interact with one another as professionals and to hear from global specialists that alternative, public health and evidence based policies are not only achievable, but required under international law. 

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