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??