Poppies: a natural source of morphine, and a symbol of the horrors of war and hope for a peaceful future

OPIS is active in several areas related to the direct relief of pain and suffering, and to policies and ideas that can lead to the prevention of future suffering. These include:

Promoting compassionate governance and systemic change

  • The embedding of compassionate ethics into all levels of governance and systemic change to prevent the persistence of intense suffering are OPIS’s highest-level objectives. Read more here.
  • Suffering quantification and visualisation
    • We have an ongoing project to prepare a semi-quantitative overview and visualisation of various sources of suffering in the world, and the best solutions we are aware of – to be published in 2024.
    • We support the introduction of new suffering metrics, to exist alongside existing economic and health metrics, as one of the most useful policy-making tools to help address suffering.

Access to effective pain relief in humans

  • We advocate for access to morphine for terminal cancer patients and others in moderate-to-severe pain.
    • Our successful collaboration in Burkina Faso has led to morphine and palliative care becoming part of the national health program.
  • We advocate for people with excruciating cluster headaches and similar disorders to have legal access to effective psychedelics.

Ending the torture and abuse of animals

  • We promote an anti-speciesist ethic that considers equivalent suffering to be equally important, regardless of the species, and we advocate against the treatment of non-human animals as commodities who can be made to suffer for our pleasure. Factory farming in particular is one of the greatest moral catastrophes of our times. We are signatories of the Montreal Declaration on Animal Exploitation, and we advocate for a global shift to plant-based diets – see our comprehensive guide to vegan eating.