Addiction to prescription painkillers is a very topical subject at the moment, with sufferers including high-profile celebrities. Our lead Expert Dr Paul McLaren wrote a letter, which was published in yesterday's Evening Standard in response to their investigation into over-the-counter opioids:
"Your article on opioid addiction was timely and highlights a serious and growing problem [March 15]. The pathway from prescribed strong opioid painkillers to illicit use and dependence is well trodden.
Another problem is the abuse of over-the-counter preparations containing opioids, which can be purchased in local chemists without a prescription. In these preparations the opioid is combined with an anti-inflammatory drug. I have seen more teenagers and adults being given one who have liked the mildly euphoric effect.
They can be the gateway drugs for stronger prescription painkillers referred to in your article and for heroin. However opioids are formulated, their addictive potential is huge and should be treated with respect by patients and medical professionals alike."
- Dr Paul McLaren, Medical director, Priory Hayes Grove Hospital
See the full article and investigation on the Evening Standard's website here: www.standard.co.uk/opioids