OPIS featured in New Humanist article "The other opioid crisis"

10 December 2018

OPIS features in a new article by Niki Seth-Smith titled "The other opioid crisis"  and appearing in today's edition of New Humanist magazine. An excerpt:

The danger is that the American tragedy will further dampen political will. The dying and seriously ill are not a vocal demographic. They are often tucked away out of sight, and practitioners in the medical field are not always the best people to tell a story. However, a new “think-and-do-tank” is determined to give voice to those around the world experiencing severe pain. The Organisation for the Prevention of Intense Suffering (OPIS) was set up in 2016 by Jonathan Leighton, a former research scientist turned writer and author of The Battle for Compassion: Ethics in an Apathetic Universe. Access to morphine as a human right is a top campaign for OPIS. “Many who need morphine are terminally ill, they may have only weeks or months to live, and it’s essential that they can live as comfortably as possible,” Leighton says. “The concerns are completely disproportionate compared to the actual primary issue at hand.”

The primary issue for OPIS is the ethical imperative to reduce suffering. Linked to the effective altruism movement, they choose causes that are most likely to produce the largest impact, determined by what Leighton calls “a clear underlying philosophy which is suffering-focused”. It’s challenging to fully empathise with others in extreme pain, especially when so many causes constantly demand our attention. According to OPIS, a morally rational approach to policy would attempt to weigh each subjective experience. “I’d like to translate that understanding into social change,” Leighton says. “Ideally systemic social change.”