Britain is facing a public crisis over addiction to prescribed medicine, according to the head of a leading drugs charity.
The number of people seeking help for dependency is said to have soared and specialists say stories about celebrity addiction are a warning to us all.
In the wake of news about the recovery of television star Ant McPartlin, the director of charity DrugWise, Harry Shapiro, has condemned the lack of support for thousands of other people in a similar situation. He told Sky News: “It’s a public health crisis that’s been growing for a number of years.”
Nobody knows exactly how many people in Britain misuse drugs such as painkillers, anti-depressants and sleeping pills but the number of opioids prescribed in the UK has increased fourfold since the 1990s.
Linda (not her real name), from Oldham, told Sky News that she started taking codeine for stress-related headaches when her business ran into financial trouble. “Not only did they get rid of the headaches but they made me feel I could handle life a little bit better so then I started taking them when I didn’t have a headache,” she said. “I was a wreck. I lost a lot of weight. I went down to six stone. Eventually my body just wouldn’t function properly without them. “I didn’t get a buzz or a high. I only took them so I could get up and do what I had to do that day.”
According to the charity Addiction Dependency Solutions:
:: 12 million more pills are being prescribed than in 2007.
:: Z drug (or sleeping pill) prescriptions rose from 4.6 million items in 2004 to 6.3 million in 2013.
:: In 2013 there were 53 million prescriptions for anti-depressants – a rise of 92% over 10 years.
Mr Shapiro said: “If you look back to say 2009 when the all-party parliamentary group on drugs produced a report on this very issue, including not just painkillers but tranquilisers and anti-depressants and the Government then took a very complacent view of the whole situation… that attitude hasn’t really changed.”
If you feel that you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to any substance it is important to ask for help. Consult your doctor or call us for assistance.
Article taken in part from www.sky.com
All content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Always consult your own GP if you’re in any way concerned about your health.
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