People who are addicted to over-the-counter or prescription-only medicines are being urged to seek help in recognition of the second annual Opioid Painkiller Addiction Awareness Day (OPAAD) on Thursday 22 September.
Aspire Drug and Alcohol Services in partnership with Doncaster Council’s Public Heath is raising awareness of the issue, which is becoming an increasing problem in the UK, because many of those affected are too embarrassed to seek medical help for their addiction.
Opioids are medicines used to treat severe or long-term (chronic) pain and some are stronger than others. The weaker ones are available to purchase over the counter, but the stronger ones are only available on prescription.
Doncaster Council Public Health Improvement Officer Andy Collins said: “Opioid-related deaths of high profile celebrities like Prince and Michael Jackson have highlighted that anyone can become addicted to opioids at any time.
“Addiction to painkillers is becoming a common problem across the UK – whether it’s becoming dependent and addicted after having them prescribed, or the increasing issue of people purchasing them illicitly and using them for recreational purposes, which increases the risk of addiction and potential overdose.”
Aspire Drug and Alcohol Service Manager Stuart Green said: “Our message is don’t suffer in silence – you’re not alone and there’s help out there.
“If someone has developed an opioid addiction after being prescribed them, Aspire is able to support them with the psychological elements of their addiction and will work in partnership with their GP, or pain management clinic to control their dosage and prescription.
“Anyone who has become addicted to opioids painkillers after using them without a prescription, or has been using them for recreational use can contact us for a confidential chat by ringing (01302) 730956, or visiting Aspire’s live chat at www.aspire.community, there’s also a dedicated website about opioid addiction at www.turntohelp.com”