The number of prescriptions being written for strong opioid medications, such as codeine, have doubled. But doctors warn that these drugs can be addictive.
Prescriptions of powerful pain killers, such as codeine and tramadol, have doubled in the past decade – with the number of prescriptions issued rising from 12m in 2006 to 24m in 2016. NHS Digital figures show that one of the highest increases in prescriptions has been for oxycodone, which shot up from 387,591 to 1.5 million – a 206% rise – over that period.
But doctors warn that more should be done to monitor these drugs, and that they should not be given out so readily. The Faculty of Pain Medicine and Royal Pharmaceutical Society said more patients should be persuaded to try psychological means of dealing with pain, such as mindfulness, instead.