The painkiller prescribed by tramadol, which hundreds of thousands of people take per day, is killing more people than any other drug, including heroin and cocaine.
The painkiller does not cause damage if taken properly, but becomes very dangerous when mixed with other drugs or alcohol. Last year, there were 33 deaths in Northern Ireland related only to tramadol. Among the dead was a 16-year-old girl and a 70-year-old retiree. The opioid-based medicine is used to treat moderate to severe pain and should only be taken with a doctor’s prescription. In 2014, it has been classified as an illegal opioid class “C” drug, which can not be dispensed without a prescription.
The problem is that many people are already addicted to Tramadol and are turning to the black market to get it because they can not get more prescriptions because they have finished the treatment or because the doctor prescribed another medication.
“Being a drug so commonly used and as prescribed, I do not think people realize the potential they have when taking Tramadol without risk medical supervision,” said Professor Jack Crane, State Pathologist for Northern Ireland.
The crane requires the Tramadol classification to be updated again to be upgraded to class “A”.
Pain management: tolerance and dependence
Some medications used to treat pain may be addictive. Dependence is different from physical dependence or tolerance. In cases of physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms occur when a substance is suddenly discontinued. 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 analgesics.
People who take opioid medications over a long period of time may develop tolerance and physical dependence, although this does not mean that they are dependent. In general, addiction occurs only in a small percentage of people when narcotics are used with proper medical supervision.
Opioid analgesics with opiate or morphine-like effects can be very addictive and work by sticking to receptors in the brain, which blocks the sensation of pain.
They should not be used for more than 3 or 4 months unless it is done under the direct supervision of your doctor.
Some names of opiate drugs: