My Story

Having kicked an addiction to alcohol and cannabis I had begun to suffer crippling arthritis. My GP advised and prescribed maximum strength Ibuprofen and Co-Codamol. For months I took these, barely giving any relief at all for my condition but I began to enjoy the effects of co-codamol.

Although I had learnt a lot about addiction, had become very aware – but nothing, or anyone had taught me about the acute addiction possible on prescription drugs.

Codeine which I since learnt was an opiate, a morphine when it hit my body. I would also top up with Nurofen plus containing 12.8% codeine!

Months went by, repeat prescription after repeat prescription, awaiting a rheumatology consultancy appointment. I felt myself becoming dependent. When I began to read and research I became scared and sought help. I couldn’t find any independent information, I couldn’t talk to my GP or the health service for fear of losing the painkillers.

This is where P.A.S.T. came in – mutual support from others like me were concerned about their prescription drug usage.

I, and others like me, people and professionals actively helping others gain awareness, support, and knowledge of their prescription useage.

Senedd Debate Prescription Petition

Prescription drug dependence and withdrawal – recognition and support

​ We call on the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.

This petition has been set up to raise awareness of the plight of individuals in Wales who are affected by dependence on and withdrawal from prescribed antidepressants and benzodiazepines – and specifically to ask the Welsh Government to support the BMA’s UK-wide call for action to provide timely and appropriate support for individuals affected.

The term “prescription drug dependence” refers specifically to the situation where, having taken their antidepressant or benzodiazepine medication exactly as prescribed by their doctor, patients find they are unable to stop because of the debilitating withdrawal effects. It is important to note here that addiction and dependence are related but different issues. Use of the term addiction implies pleasure seeking behaviour. Reporting of prescription drug dependence in the media continues to allude to “misuse” and “addiction” as if the patient is responsible in some way for their own harm. This is far from the truth. There is no pleasure whatsoever in finding that if you try to reduce or stop your antidepressant, you suffer a wide range of physical and emotional disturbances, that for some people can be life limiting and, tragically, even life ending. Patients need formal acknowledgement, support and guidance to help them through their withdrawal journey and this currently does not exist.​

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