Tag Archives: painkillers

UK’s top paramedic Malcolm Woollard died of prescription drug overdose

Britain’s top paramedic, 57, was found dead in bed by neighbour after taking accidental overdose of morphine prescribed for his chronic back pain

Britain’s top paramedic died after overdosing on the 19 drugs he took for back pain each day, an inquest heard.

Professor Malcolm Woollard, 57, was found lying naked in his bed in Llangattock, near Abergavenny, South Wales in July last year.

He was discovered after a neighbour became concerned with mail piling up outside his house – but could have been dead for a week before he was found.

Pontypridd Coroner’s Court heard he had chronic back pain and was regularly admitted to hospital for taking too much morphine.

He was the first paramedic in the UK to be awarded the title of Professor and was Chairman of the British Paramedics Association

More….

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6573327/Chairman-Paramedics-Association-Malcolm-Woollard-overdosed-prescription-drugs-inquest-hears.html

Awareness at the Assembly 2018

We are proud to host a day to raise awareness to the PRESENT issues caused by problematic usage of prescription, over the counter and online medication.

To improve the FUTURE for those hundreds of thousands  here in Wales with issues of:

  • dependency. 
  • withdrawal.
  • adverse side effects. 
  • tolerance.
  • iatrogenic.
Guest Speakers:
Dr David Healy.
Professor of Psychiatry Bangor University, author, consultant.
(more information – biog)
Stevie Lewis – Assembly Petitioner.
(see petition)

Informal discussion seminars:

  • Young People, Older Persons, medication in the workplace.

To book your ticket,  register your interest and receive further details email: assembly18@past.wales

EXPERIENCES OF DEPENDENCE TO PRESCRIBED PAIN MEDICATION

EXPERIENCES OF DEPENDENCE TO PRESCRIBED PAIN MEDICATION

Hello, my name is Louise and I am a student from the University of Surrey. I am looking for UK based participants over 18 years of age to take part in my study.

I am looking to talk to people about their experiences of dependence on prescribed medication for pain. Please note this study is confidential and anonymous.

If you would like to be involved or have any questions email me at ln00214@surrey.ac.uk

This study has been approved by the University of Surrey’s Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences’ Ethics Committee.

Patients who are becoming addicted to prescription drugs – ITV

VIDEO

They are powerful painkillers bringing relief to millions of people – but there is growing concern over the use of opioids.

There’s evidence that some patients are becoming hooked on them and many experts argue they are ineffective when it comes to reducing long term chronic pain.

Tramadol: The most dangerous drug in the world

Over the years, as often happens, a difference between clinical trials and the real world started to emerge.

Imagine a prescription medication that relieves pain just as well as narcotics like Oxycontin, but isn’t addictive. Too good to be true?

Turns out, yes.

For years, that was the case with Tramadol, a synthetic opioid drug that was released in 1995 under the brand name Ultram to great expectations. This new drug seemed to offer all the benefits of more powerful, more addictive drugs, but with fewer of the downsides of dependency — at least in clinical trials. This was apparently in part because trials examined tramadol use by injection, but it is manufactured — and far more potent — in pill form.

And if the drug was unlikely to make people dependent, it was not likely to be abused, unlike other opioid alternatives like Vicodin (also known as Norco), Percocet — let alone be as dangerous as high potency opioid medications like morphine, Dilaudid, or Fentanyl.

So for many years, Tramadol was widely prescribed by doctors as a “safer” alternative to narcotics for pain. The difference between narcotics and opioids is subtle, but opioids are natural or synthetically made drugs that function metabolically in the body like opium derivatives derived from poppy plant, while narcotics is more often used as a legal term, classifying drugs that blur the senses and produce euphoria, including cocaine and other non-opiates.

Indeed, unlike other opioid drugs, the Drug Enforcement Agency didn’t classify Tramadol as a controlled substance, because the FDA believed it had a low potential for abuse.

Though there were concerns about tramadol abuse in the years after release, the FDA repeatedly determined that the drug was not being widely abused, and so left it as an unscheduled drug.
This made Tramadol a particularly dangerous drug — because it was, in fact, highly addictive and prone to abuse. But because it was easier to obtain and had less concerns from physicians, it was more widely prescribed. Over the years, as often happens, a difference between clinical trials and the real world started to emerge. Emergency rooms began to report a growing number of overdoses related to Tramadol ……..

full article here

Heath Ledger – awareness

Overdose awareness Day!

Heath Ledger, Prescription drugs and overdose.

‘It was [10] years ago … but to me it’s like it was yesterday.’

These are the words of Kim Ledger as he recalled the loss of his son Heath to an opioid overdose in January 2008.

The 28-year-old actor had been caught up in a punishing production schedule, flying between three different countries and filming scenes at night in the bitter cold. He contracted a chest infection that developed into pneumonia, and experienced insomnia.

Heath visited a variety of doctors on his travels to help deal with these problems, collecting a veritable cornucopia of prescription medications, including opioids and sleeping pills.

In combination, the opioids, sleeping pills and the chest infection itself had a depressing effect on Heath’s respiratory system, causing it to shut down. This made him a high-profile casualty of what was emerging as a prescription opioid epidemic, which includes the use of legal drugs such as codeine, fentanyl and oxycodone.

This phenomenon has claimed thousands of lives in Australia and around the world.

While Heath’s death was the result of a medication mix he didn’t realise would exact such a heavy toll, other opioid users have a more long-term relationship with these types of drugs, often becoming unexpectedly addicted after using them as a treatment for chronic non-malignant pain.

‘The accidental addict. In a very short space of time, people can become addicted to oxycodone and products like that,’ Kim said.

Such was the case of 30-year-old nurse and mother of two, Katie Howman, found dead following a fentanyl overdose in her Toowoomba home just before Christmas in 2013. Investigations revealed she had visited 20 different doctors and 15 different pharmacies over the previous 13 months in her search for opioids.

Opioids – a category that includes pharmaceuticals such as oxycodone and fentanyl, as well as illicit versions such as heroin – remain the main cause of accidental overdose death in Australia. Opioid-related deaths hovered at around 450 per year at the turn of the century, but these numbers have risen sharply since 2006 to hit over 1100 per year since 2014.

What has led us to this epidemic, and what can GPs do to help curb it?

Too good to be true
In the late 1990s, prescription opioids seemed like an ideal answer to the often-difficult problem of chronic, non-malignant pain.

‘There was an increased demand to treat chronic pain. There were very few options and very little research that had been done on this problem,’ Dr Evan Ackermann, a GP with a special interest in opioids, told the RACGP.

‘This was mixed with a situation of some fairly aggressive drug company marketing of opioids and a change of clinical attitude towards pain. Normally, pain would be part of the healing process, but people started to say we should be looking at pain as the “fifth sign” and treating it aggressively.

‘It was a cultural shift across the healthcare sector, across the board, from pharmacy right through to general practice, specialists and hospitals.’…………….
‘There is a sense out there sometimes that it’s just people choosing to do this, that there’s a dichotomy between the genuine-pain patient and the bad drug user,’ she said. ‘My experience is that they’re the same group of people.

‘Opioids interact with us as a species in a particular way; all of us are at risk of side-effects and one of those major side-effects is dependency and addiction.’

………….

full story

Exerpt from:https://www.racgp.org.au/newsGP/Clinical/Agony-and-ecstasy-Prescription-drugs-and-overdose

Stevens-Johnson syndrome

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a rare but serious disorder that affects the skin, mucous membrane, genitals and eyes.

The mucous membrane is the soft layer of tissue that lines the digestive system from the mouth to the anus, as well as the reproductive organs and eyeballs.

It is usually caused by an unpredictable adverse reaction to certain medications. It can also sometimes be caused by an infection.

The syndrome often begins with flu-like symptoms, followed by a red or purple rash that spreads and forms blisters. The affected skin eventually dies and peels off.

Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a medical emergency that requires treatment in hospital, often in intensive or a burns unit.

Symptoms:

  • feeling generally unwell
  • high temperature
  • joint pain
  • a cough
  • a rash that looks like a target
  • facial swelling
  • crusty sores and blistering

Treatment:

Hospital treatment is required immediately.

Treatment while in hospital may include:

  • strong painkillers
  • cold compress against the skin
  • moisturising affected skin
  • fluid replacement
  • antibiotics
  • eye drops and ointment

Girl left covered in burns and blisters that glued her eyes shut after suffering allergic reaction to PAINKILLERS

https://www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/6967967/girl-allergic-reaction-painkillers-burns-blisters-eyes-glued-shut/

The path from painkillers to heroin

The path from painkillers to heroin

Experts warn that prescription painkillers are leading individuals to become addicted to heroin.

According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, among 75% of heroin users report using opiod prescription pain medication prior to trying heroin. Despite the known side effects, painkillers like Co-codomol, Tramadol and Morphine are among the several prescription opiods prescribed by doctors in the UK for chronic pain. In 2017 alone, nearly 24 million opiods were prescribed in the UK. Further, recent figures from the Office for National Statistics show the number of people dying from opioid-related drug misuse has reached a record high in England and Wales, with around 3,700 people dying in 2016 because of drug misuse, 2000 of these involving an opiod medication. With the increase in prescription opiods use, many now question whether there is an increased risk of those who are prescribed such painkillers eventually using heroin.

Addiction through opiod painkillers develops quickly and before patients realise they progress from legitimate painkiller use to the stage of dependency and tolerance, meaning that the usual dosage is no longer sufficient to manage their pain and simply use the painkillers to keep withdrawals at bay. Many patients report that once their doctors become aware there is a problem, they stop prescribing and eventually cut them off completely; with little to no support and leaving them with nowhere to turn. Now dependent on the medication and their prescription no longer available, many patients become so desperate that they turn to heroin when they lose access to the painkillers.

This transition is all too familiar to one of PAST’s service users, who states “I broke my back in a car accident and was prescribed several pain killers, including MST (Morphine), Dydocodiene and Tramadol. I knew I was addicted as I had started to use the medication simply to feel normal and would often take more than necessary; resulting in me telling the doctor that I had ‘lost’ my prescription in order to obtain more. 3 years after my accident I was called into the doctor’s to speak about my repeat prescription and she expressed concern that I was addicted. I knew I was and she did too. The doctor immediately reduced my medication and gave me 3 weeks to come off the medication completely. The withdrawals were excruciating and I felt that I had no choice but to resort to buying the opiod pills on the street and online, and when this became too expensive I eventually began to use heroin.”

Whilst prescribed medication is not solely responsible for heroin use as many heroin users have not previously used prescription opiods, it cannot be denied that there is strong evidence demonstrating a significant number of patients prescribed opiods eventually move to heroin. There is no clear answer to this problem but it is certainly shows that there is a desperate need for support for those individuals who may have problems with prescription opiods.

If you think that you may have a problem with painkillers, whether prescription, over the counter or even online then why not attend a PAST meeting on a Tuesday afternoon at Chapter Arts, Cardiff for a coffee and a chat.

Written by Joanna Whitton – PAST

Withdrawal – What we Know and Don’t Know

Antidepressant Withdrawal – What we Know and Don’t Know

My Doctor/Psychiatrist told me that I have to take an antidepressant to correct a
chemical imbalance in my brain, is this true?

No, it is a myth, we cannot test or measure the state of neurotransmitters in your brain, the
American Psychiatric Association disavowed this myth in 2011(1). It is a pharmaceutical
company invention (2).

How many people experience withdrawal effects?

It varies according to which drug is used, at what dosage, and for how long. Recent
studies (3) are showing the number affected to be greater than 50% of those taking the
drugs. The UK Royal College of Psychiatrists did their own survey (4) (now removed) which
showed that 63% reported withdrawal effects.

Why does my doctor/psychiatrist keep saying ‘discontinuation syndrome’ when I
mention withdrawal?

Discontinuation syndrome is an invented term (5) which minimises the role of the drug in the
harm caused and steers users away from addiction terminology. While dependence and
withdrawal have some features in common with addiction, they are not accurately
described using just this approach. What you are experiencing is an effect of withdrawing
from a drug, not of discontinuing treatment.

Why does my doctor insist that ‘once the drug is out of my system’ I will be fine?

Because not all doctors understand the effects of antidepressant drugs on the brain (6). A
heavy drinker or smoker may suddenly stop drinking/smoking, but the effects on their brain
and nervous system continue to be felt long after they have quit. Antidepressant drugs
change the brain in ways we don’t currently understand. These adaptations (7) to the drug
are responsible for withdrawal effects.

What does withdrawal feel like?

It’s a highly variable experience ranging from mild symptoms which pass quickly, to
profound symptoms that sometimes persist for many years. In a 2017 survey (8), 46% of
those reporting withdrawal symptoms described them as ‘severe’. Most common reported
symptoms (9) are insomnia, dizziness, fatigue, digestive problems, anxiety, panic,
depression, agitation. Withdrawal symptoms can sometimes mimic depressive or anxious states but should not be confused with relapse (10).

I am worried about dependence, what should I do?

The most important thing is never stop your drugs suddenly, this can be dangerous. Talk to
your doctor but be prepared as many doctors do not have the information to be able to
help. Withdrawal is a unique experience, with no fixed rules.

There are some excellent and
reliable online sources for help including:
• theinnercompass.org
• madinamerica.com/drug-withdrawal-resources
• survivingantidepressants.org
www.jfmoore.co.uk August, 2018
Antidepressant Withdrawal – What we Know and Don’t Know

References (to read these online visit www.jfmoore.co.uk/ltw.html)
1. http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/blogs/couch-crisis/psychiatry-new-brain-mind-andlegend-chemical-imbalance
2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-depression-just-bad-chemistry/
3. http://roar.uel.ac.uk/7402/
4. RCPsych survey (now deleted)
5. https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/side-effects/201107/antidepressantwithdrawal-syndrome
6. http://time.com/3399344/antidepressant-changes-the-brain-study-finds/
7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4118946/
8. http://roar.uel.ac.uk/7402/
9. https://www.karger.com/Article/FullText/370338
10.http://www.stacommunications.com/journals/diagnosis/2006/Diagnosis_sep_06/DS.pdf
www.jfmoore.co.uk August, 2018

What we know about antidepressant withdrawal V1

James Moore

“Eminem – About The Dependency he had” – YouTube

https://youtu.be/9bpvT3VjOiU