Here in the UK, we are sometimes guilty of thinking that prescription drug addiction and the so-called ‘opiode epidemic’ is a peculiarly American problem.
However, prescriptions for opiates and opiodes have increased by 60% in the UK in the last decade and there is a serious concern amongst experts that the UK and Europe could be in the beginning stages of a US-style epidemic of prescription drug dependency.
Online pharmacies make access to prescription drug easier and strong painkillers and muscle relaxants like Codeine, Fentanyl, Morphine, Oxycodone, Diazepam and Tramadol are frequently being issued online.
So, what are the main culprits? Which prescription drugs are being given out by doctors and pharmacies that are causing this spike in addiction in the UK?
Opiates and Opiodes
Codeine – This synthetic opioide is used to treat chronic pain and is currently available over-the-counter, though this could soon change in the UK.
Tramadol – A commonly-used chronic pain relief opioide that is weaker than codeine but still addictive.
Morphine – The opiate from which heroin is made
Diazepam – A muscle relaxant used in the treatment of nerve and muscle pain, which can become highly addictive if used for extended periods.
Ritalin – Often used to treat ADHD, the use of this drug has increased significantly in recent years
Are you addicted?
Coming to terms with the idea that you may be addicted is always a challenging journey. However, recognising the signs of addiction is the first step in overcoming dependency. This is leading to a significant rise in the number of people who find they are chemically addicted to prescription drugs.
The signs to look out for include:
- Craving the medicine in question
- Wanting to take more medicine than prescribed or instructed
- Taking additional medicines to achieve the same pain relief
- Taking opioids for any reason other than specific pain relief
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking the prescription medicine
What treatments are out there?
The first port of call, if you’re concerned that you might be addicted to prescription drugs, should be to talk to your GP.
From there, there are a number of options for treatment;
- Therapy and group support with organisations like Narcotics Anonymous
- Residential rehabilitation at a clinical facility