Prescriptions for powerful opioid painkillers have doubled from 12m to 24m in past decade, NHS Digital figures reveal
Dependency, addiction, opiate painkillers
Powerful and potentially addictive opiate painkillers are being handed out too readily, leading doctors have warned after it emerged that the number of times the drugs are being prescribed in the UK has doubled in the past decade.
The Faculty of Pain Medicine and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society said they were worried about the high and growing use of opioid drugs such as codeine and tramadol – while other experts warn that hundreds of thousands of patients could be addicted to them.
Dr Barry Miller, dean of the Faculty of Pain Medicine, said that the increase in the prescription rates of painkillers in the UK should be “met with concern”, adding: “While some of the increase can be attributed to an improved understanding of the effectiveness of these medications by medical professionals, we are concerned by reports of unnecessary prescription.”