Are we all addicted to painkillers?

painkillers

I submit the following article as further proof that what I’ve been calling the painkiller epidemic is coming to a dangerous head—not only here in the U.S., but internationally as well.

The U.K. and Australia are considering reversing their decade’s long policy of allowing codeine and dihydrocodeine-containing painkillers to be available over-the-counter (OTC). Many of you probably didn’t even know that codeine preparations were available OTC just across the pond… did you? This tells me that these countries are acknowledging that, much like the U.S., they are experiencing the escalating negative effects of a substantially increasing painkiller-addicted population.

Codeine is a serious drug. In fact, Codeine is the starting material of strong opioids such as hydrocodone (Vicodin) and oxycodone (OxyContin). In the U.S. codeine is a Schedule II Controlled Substance. According to the U.S. Controlled Substances Act (CSA), a substance qualifies as Schedule II when the following is found:

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has a currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States or a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions.
  • Abuse of the drug or other substances may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Further controlling these substances is a good start, but I believe Australia and the U.K. will find (if they are not lobbied out of this move in the first place by the pharmaceutical industry) that it does little to stem the rising tide of abuse and addiction surrounding these medications. As usual, the only real answer seems to be education.


For more information:
» Codeine at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
» Controlled Substances Act at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

Article: http://www.timesonline.co.uk

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