Life in Pain

In Canada, patients in extreme pain are prescribed pain killers, but that’s not the case all over the world. Bureaucracy and the war on drugs are keeping thousands in pain from getting the help that they need.

Because of strict narcotics laws, people suffering in Ukraine have limited access to morphine, which is a standard in pain treatment-at least here in Canada. Part of the problem is that morphine is nearly identical to heroin and so it is under strict control. And that means many patients in dire need are not getting the morphine medication they require.

Under Ukrainian policy, patients who have finished treatment or who are terminal are sent home, left to suffer in agony. Artur Shumanov is one of the many living in pain, without access to painkillers like morphine. He is in so much pain, when the journalism team visited him, he kept a gun under his pillow to end his life if his pain became unbearable. The laws of this country keep many terminally ill patients like Artur living in pain, and suffering until they die.

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Life in Pain was shot and produced by a team of students and teachers from the University of British Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism International Reporting Program (IRP). Peter W. Klein, an award-winning producer who is the director of the UBC School of Journalism and the IRP, led the project. To learn more please visit, 

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