A recent review has highlighted the growing number of people addicted to painkillers and seeking rehabilitation help.
The review shows that GPs prescribing opioid analgesics has risen from 228 million in 1991 to 1.38b in 2009. The problem with this type of painkiller is that they are highly addictive and the death rate through overdosing is also rising.
2 per cent of people seeking treatment in rehabilitation clinics say that their problem is with painkillers. With the population aging and cases of chronic pain through such diseases as arthritis rising, doctors are turning to opioid drugs to help their patients. If new, less addictive drugs are not found soon the problem may well become a disaster.