The United Kingdom is on the verge of an opioid epidemic, a recent survey by the National Health Service (NHS) has cautioned. Approximately half of the respondents admitted to popping pills for symptoms of depression and heart-related conditions.
As per the survey, one in seven adults is on statins for lowering the levels of cholesterol, a 10th are consuming antidepressants and one in seven is on pills to control blood pressure. The researchers highlighted that some of the most commonly used drugs included blood pressure pills, statins, heartburn remedies, painkillers and antidepressants.
Highlighting the magnitude of the problem, researchers found that nearly 15 percent of the participants were taking a medication to control their blood pressure and 14 percent were on statins. While another 10 percent were on antidepressants, around 5 percent were on medicines for asthma, diabetes or blood clots witnessed after a heart attack.
As a result, approximately 1.1 million of prescription drugs were handed out last year. The alarming increase in the rate of writing a prescription is a wake-up call not just for the nation but also for the policymakers worldwide in the wake of the rapidly spreading prescription drug crisis.
UK competing with US?
For decades, the United States has been struggling with prescription drug abuse, particularly opioids. The worsening situation compelled President Donald Trump to declare the ongoing opioid crisis a national public health emergency. Despite the long-drawn-out campaign against opioid epidemic, it continues to be a major problem, especially among American youngsters. The study helps in underlining the similarities in terms of opioid abuse across both the U.K. and the U.S.
As witnessed in the U.S., the study draws attention toward the increased practice of the frequent writing of prescription even for nominal health concerns that discourage people from doing physical exercise essential for treating high cholesterol levels, blood pressure and depression. Additionally, it is also preventing people from taking steps to introduce healthy lifestyle changes.
Risks of prescription drug abuse
Owing to factors like easy availability of prescription drugs, frequent sharing of prescriptions, and trend of overprescription, prescription drug abuse has grown to an alarming level. It has affected people of all age, race and gender, especially college students, women and elderly population.
Consequently, an increase in emergency department (ED) visits, substance abuse treatment admissions and economic costs associated with opioid abuse are being reported in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), opioid-related deaths have outnumbered overdose deaths involving all illicit drugs like heroin and cocaine.
The random use of prescription drugs is also encouraged due to the popular myth that they are comparatively safer and less harmful than illicit drugs. However, the truth is that abuse of prescription drugs in the absence of medical supervision can lead to permanent alteration in both body and the brain.
While the short-term consequences can range from reduced ability to react quickly, poor control over movements or other functions, etc., the long-term effects can be relatively severe like organ failure or damage.
Road to recovery
The abuse of prescription drugs can potentially lead to addiction that can further trigger a mental disorder. As a result, one is likely to suffer from coexisting drug addiction and mental disorder. Known as dual diagnosis, the condition is hard to diagnose due to the overlapping of the symptoms. In order to overcome drug addiction, it is essential to seek holistic treatment and implement small changes in life.
If you or your loved one is suffering from prescription drug abuse, contact the Prescription Drug Addiction Help for information on the prescription drug abuse treatment centers near you. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-623-3847 or chat online to learn about the top prescription drug abuse treatment centers.