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Not What The Doctor Ordered


Four million people in the UK have an addiction to opioids. Only these aren’t the usual class A varieties we maybe familiar with. They are not the drugs whose vice like grip is reported as ruining people’s lives, destroying communities and killing young people; No, these are the lesser know, but socially accepted prescription variety.

The fact is that in the home of the ordinary everyday person a secret resides.

Many people begin taking opioids after injury, operations, for illness and untreatable conditions; but then this normal and everyday action slips suddenly into an addiction.


What is it about these ‘safe’ prescription medicines that are leading ordinary everyday people into the territory of the shunned drug addicts of the world?

What is it that makes these painkillers so tempting to our brains?

What is it that allows these drugs to grab hold of people to a point that before they realise it, their addiction is entrenched just like any other ‘junkies’? 

Well, opioids, from codeine to diamorphine (which is basically heroin); all act on the central nervous system. They induce a miraculous feeling of well-being; banishing anxiety, inducing a sense of security and easing pain. It is these facts that have made these drugs, these legal class A drugs, popular for many decades.

Just ask the Hollywood film and television industry; they are no strangers to the short lived delights these little pills have to offer.

In fact many of these seemingly innocent painkillers people take everyday are actually so powerful that some of the brands have been affectionately labelled as “hillbilly heroin” (in America).

Yet, the demand for these opioids is still as fresh as the poppy they all originate from.

There has been no slow down on prescriptions; in fact from 1999 to 2008 dispensed opioids have increased from 6.2 million to 14.8 million. Those number equate to a lot of possible future addicts.

Yet, what other options are available for pain relief via the NHS??

Well, not much – either take these drugs or be left with run of the mill Paracetamol, Ibuprofen and Aspirin.

So before we condemn people for taking these heavy duty painkillers think about it; which would you choose if had to,  heroin based pills or excruciating life impairing 24/7 pain??

Not much of an option then.

It is either no pills or take heavy duty painkiller prescriptions and run the risk of becoming a junkie (albeit a self respecting and socially adept junkie).

So is this what the doctor ordered??

Or are the patients to blame for their own addictions by demanding these drugs, when it is made clear often enough they can produce addictive side effects?

What is the solution when this acceptable addiction spirals out of control???

With addiction creating such bad press and negative ideas/stereotypes how does someone exactly admit to the whole world, the world that thinks they are an upstanding and level headed person; that they are in fact addicted to drugs????

What help is out there for these ordinary people hooked on such drugs???

Do they ever receive the help they require or is it merely a case of having to continue to mask their addiction to save face??

What do they do when the pills eventually run out???


What are your thoughts on prescription medications?? Help or hindrance?

Are these potentially lethal drugs too often dished out like party favours without real pause for thought?

Are patients to blame for demanding the drugs in the first place??

Who is really monitoring the intake of these drugs; GP or patient??

11 thoughts on “Not What The Doctor Ordered

  1. ive been on zapain (painkiller) for siatica in my back now for well over a year. ive talked to my doctor about alternative tablets after hearing and finally reading the instructions in the tablet box that over a long time of use that people can become addicted.He told me that i could try less strong ones but they wouldnt deal with the pain aswell as the ones i was already on. i myself never take them if im not in more pain than i think a paracetomol can cure but i can c why people take them. they make me feel sleepy and very relaxed which the doctor did warn me about prior to taking them. But there arnt many other tablets out there that will both take away the pain and not leave you with anyside affects. my question is shud the goverment be trying to find less addictive drugs as in my eyes it seems we have no choice but to take these tablets. its either live in such pain where i couldnt pick up my children or run the risk of becoming addicted to painkillers.

    • I agree with you Annie on this.

      The Government should look into alternatives, and the NHS too. It seems we have been stuck with addictive drugs being dished out as safe for too long. There isn’t enough choice available, it is a simple answer; take them or face pain – exactly as you have stated.
      It isn’t good enough really, and again a lazy option to keep prescribing things instead of thinking of what alternatives could be available to use.

      Thanks for your comment!!!!!
      Bex 🙂

  2. I believe they can be of a help, but after reading the comments and your post, there is so much that I never knew. I knew that they are highly addictive, but not really why. I’ve never really questioned the Doctor on prescribing pills to me, I mean, he is the Doctor. I’ve just assumed he wouldn’t give me anything that could be too harmful.

    I almost think there should be a better education system. When the doctor gives you pills, regardless the type of pill, there should be some explanation of what those pills are going to do to your body and why he is prescribing them. I don’t feel I should have to do outside research on the medication a Doctor is giving me. I feel, now, that I really should though.

    I think that Doctor’s should be less liberal in handing out highly addictive pills and if he does feel that it is necessary, to explain what he is giving you and why.

    Maybe not every patient might want to hear a full explanation, but the Doctor should still give them opportunity to learn.

    • I am happy that my post, and comments have helped you in some way. That is good to know. I thank you too for your input into this topic and sharing your opinions.

      To be honest, I think most people wouldn’t question their Doctor, and always assume what they do, say and prescribe is for their own benefit, and not to be detrimental. Yet, it isn’t always the case. It is your body and you should be informed in the medical processes acting upon you (in that I strongly believe). My advice would always be to never accept anything unless you know what it is for, and what the effects will be. Ask as many questions as you need to.

      In the UK any medication comes with a leaflet explaining what the medication is, how it works, side effects and so on. Yet, the Doctors often get their prescription for an aliment wrong, or provide medication that could be too damaging to take (with too many possible risky side effects). Also often the prescription given to a patient will conflict with other medication they are already taking. A case of the Doctor not reading the patients notes or not knowing the patient well enough.

      Doctors don’t know everything, and aren’t always ‘on the ball’ when it comes to providing patients with good health care. This in itself is a separate concern of mine. ,

      Yes, there should be better education for people about this. I agree with that! I also agree that a patient shouldn’t have to do their own research – they are not medical professionals, that is what Doctors are paid for – to know their stuff!!! I honestly think the medical services provided are not always as good as they should be.

      Yes, once again I agree – the liberal handing out of any medications shouldn’t be the normal standard. People may not want to know, but surely not knowing what they are ingesting would be worse. Being informed is key to being able to play a part in your own health. I always think that ignorance, as far as health is concerned, is not bliss.

      Thank you so much once again,
      Bex 🙂

  3. One of the problems here is the way opioids function: They do not alleviate the source of the pain, but they “kill the messenger”. Now, the function of the messenger is also to get help, so the damaged region sends out more and more messengers the more frequent the opioids are taken -. On the one hand: no pain as long as you take the pills, on the other hand: significantly hampered healing process, and even more pain after. Imao, Opioids should be prescribed for a limited time only to severely traumatized patients, or until death in patients with no prospect of healing. At the moment of my pain, naturally, I wanted it to go away, but I am happy that I was only on diamorphine for a total of 36h – despite the most advanced non-opioids of the time (2004), I was in excruciating pain for another 7 days, but now most of it is healed – except for my nerve endings. I don’t seem to have any more pain receptors near my lungs anymore. The patients are not at fault. The patients are under duress, and cannot decide. Doctors are not doing them a favor by handing out addictive prescription drugs willy-nilly.

    • Hi, thank you so much for adding your thoughts and opinions to this topic. I appreciate your considered response.

      I certainly agree that these painkillers should not be prescribed on a long term basis, except in certain cases as you have stated already. They are far too addictive to even consider as a long term option.

      Interesting to note that you were given diamorphine, but for such a limited time, after what seemed to be a traumatic operation. I recall my own operation in 2010 where afterwards I was given a small amount of morphine to kill the pain (about 10mg) – my experience with this was not a good one at all.

      As far as dependency goes, I feel the patients aren’t to blame either. They do have limited choice in this, and they prescriptions are often given freely as Doctors use medication to often save further enquiries, which generate waiting lists and cost more money.

      Thanks again for your comment,
      Bex 🙂

      • Oh, it wasn’t an operation – I had had a pulmonary embolism (a few more after that, but they didn’t hurt at all, thus my conclusion that my pain receptors in my chest are no defective). The doctors were very reluctant to find out why a 19-year old would have something like that, another reason for me not to trust medical doctors.

        • Wow, that it is quite something to endure so young. Seems that Doctors or the medical system often fail the patients. Hence why probably prescriptions replace actual investigation of illnesses and so on.

          Thanks for your candour.
          Bex 🙂

  4. Pingback: 5 things you MUST know about Paracetamol | Coffee Table Science

  5. yes prescriptions should be made compulsory while taking the medications…pain killers is some what OK but beyond this should permitted… and yes it’s also the problem with the patient also who simply goes to medication with consulting the doctor…

    • Thank you for your comment on this topic, I appreciate your input on this.
      So, I suppose what you are stating is the patient that turns to medication without a Doctors approval, is going to be ‘stacking’ up trouble for themselves?? I think this could be true.

      No medication as harsh as heavy duty painkillers should be available without a Doctor’s agrreance and monitoring – that is certain. Yet, maybe even Doctors can get it wrong??

      Thanks again,
      Bex 🙂

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