We need to talk about painkiller addiction
It’s estimated that 7.1 million adults in England take prescribed opioids or gabapentinoid pain medication1.
Medications such as codeine, morphine and tramadol are often prescribed as a ‘quick fix’ after an injury or operation. However, these can lead to addiction and even death if they are misused or taken for a prolonged period of time.
The North East is currently the highest opioid prescribing area in the country, with Sunderland in particular dubbed ‘the painkiller capital’.
Meanwhile across County Durham, over 55,000 prescriptions for opioids and gabapentinoids are dispensed every month, with an estimated 8,000 patients each month taking a risky combination of the two2.
1 Source: Public Health England, 2019
2 Source: BSA EPACT2, 2019
Painkillers Don’t Exist is an NHS campaign across Sunderland and County Durham that aims to raise awareness of the dangerous effects of long-term high-dose pain medication and empower people living with pain to make informed decisions about their health.
This is a local campaign which involves all GPs, pharmacists and health professionals.
If you’re worried that you or someone you know could be dependent on pain medication, visit our support page.