We thought the problem was in America but it is very much here. Opioids such as morphine, tramadol and fentanyl can be highly addictive and deaths from addiction are rising.
GPs in England prescribed 23.8 million opioid-based painkillers in 2017, the equivalent of 2,700 items every hour. This was 10 million more prescriptions than in 2007; an 80% rise on the 2007 figure.
The latest ONS figures show the number of people dying from opioid-related drug misuse has reached a record high in England and Wales. About 3,700 people died in 2016 because of drug misuse. More than 2,000 of these deaths involved an opioid.
The Evening Standard said last night that opioids cost the taxpayer £263 million last year. Does that figure include the time GPs spend with patients addicted to painkillers? Rather than berating GPs for over-prescribing, solutions are required to alleviate the pressures on GPs which should, in turn, help tackle the crisis.
Agencia works alongside GPs with its painkiller addiction service "Rewire":
Doctors warn the NHS is fuelling an addiction crisis because of an increase in the prescribing of powerful painkillers.