The prescription pain reliever Tramadol that hundreds of thousands of people take every day is killing more people than any other drug, including heroin and cocaine.
The pain reliever is harmless if taken correctly, but it becomes very dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Last year there were 33 deaths in Northern Ireland related to Tramadol alone. Among the dead were a 16-year-old girl and a 70-year-old retiree. The opined-based medication is used to treat moderate or severe pain and should only be taken with a prescription. In 2014 it was classified as an illegal class “C” opined drug that cannot be dispensed without a prescription.
The problem is that many people are already addicted to Tramadol and are turning to the black market for it because they cannot get any more prescriptions because they have finished their treatment or because their doctor has prescribed another drug.
“Being such a commonly used and highly prescribed drug, I don’t think people realize the potential risk they have when taking Tramadol without medical supervision,” explains Professor Jack Crane, a pathologist from the State of Northern Ireland.
Crane requires the Tramadol classification to be updated again in order for it to be upgraded to class “A”.
Pain management: tolerance and addiction
Some medications used to treat pain can be addictive. Addiction is different from physical dependence or tolerance. In cases of physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms occur when a substance is suddenly stopped. Tolerance occurs when the initial dose of a substance loses its effectiveness over time. Addiction is a psychological and behavioral response that some people develop with the use of narcotic pain medications.
People who take opined medications for a long period of time can develop tolerance and physical dependence, although this does not mean they are addicted. In general, addiction occurs only in a small percentage of people when narcotics are used with proper medical supervision.
Opined pain relievers with effects similar to opium or morphine can be highly addictive and work by binding to receptors in the brain, blocking the sensation of pain.
They should not be used for longer than 3-4 months, unless under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Some names of opined drugs: