Addiction to Prescription Drugs

When we become addicted to something we loose personal control.
We don’t voluntarily or consciously walk into this.
The loss of control creeps or sneaks up on us insidiously and pervasively.
We are then unfree ill powerless and self loathing.
A very modern common addiction is to prescription drugs.
It is a worldwide problem which apart from being a devastation for the victims has a high social and economic cost. It has reached epidemic proportions in the US where in 2017 an estimated 18 million people misused prescription drugs. It is estimated that 130 die each day from opioid overdoses. The problem is of course very big throughout Europe also and right down to our immediate friends families and communities.
A prescription medicine is a pharmaceutical product that requires a medical prescription to be dispensed. Obviously over the counter medicine can be optained without prescription. The aim of the prescription is to ensure medicine is used for a specific purpose with an appropriate dosage.
The types of medicine most susceptible to addiction are
1. Stimulants which are prescribed mostly to address attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ADHD.
2. Opiates which are prescribed mostly to deal with pain.
3. Tranquilisers / sedatives which are prescribed to treat anxiety or sleep disorders.
Before I put the Twitter Machine and Facebook mad let me state that these are initially prescribed in a safe way for a defined period and achieve great outcomes. It is only when dependency kicks in that a problem arises.
The production of opium and manufacture of cocaine are at the highest level ever recorded.
The pharmaceutical industry manufacture their derivatives that do immense good but also make prisoners of many.
These medicines are sometimes prescribed too readily and for too long.
It is not easy for a doctor to evaluate what they are being told by the patient and to spot early developing addiction.
The internet and specifically the darknet has become a shop window for these drugs outside mainstream medicine. This is frightening and hard to combat. Of course there is no quality control and even more dangerous products can appear this way. Addicted persons can get top ups through relatives and friends and indeed by moving around pharmacies.
I have the privilege through my membership of the Council Of Europe of being a member of its Social Affairs Health and Sustainable Development Committee. I have been elected Chair of its Health Committee. I was then appointed as Rappateur for a Report on Addiction To Prescription Drugs. I am getting started on it. I will be looking at the research at possible remedies and at our Public Health Responses. Of course the entire focus will be on possible solutions and recommendations to Government and Public Health Delivery Agencies. Needless to say I will meet with professionals read research papers and listen to experts before attempting to write a final report.
When it’s complete it will be published after going before the Parliamentary Assembly and at that stage I will give you all a link to it. Indeed if you want to pass on comments to me that’s great.
I’m really happy and thankful to be doing this.
After my appointment to do this job I proudly posted it on Twitter and Facebook only to receive the following comment from what must be a dark and bleak person
‘Is this what you’ve come down to.?
I wonder what they think is good and valuable.
It reminded me of an Irishman who was gathering turtles and placing them in an open barrel of water.
A passing American Tourist enquired.
Why do you leave the turtles in an open barrel from which they can escape.? To which my man replied but they are Irish Turtles.
What difference does that make? enquired the Yank.
When one of them makes it toward the rim and top of the barrel another turtle will pull them back down replied my man.

Senator Joe O'Reilly representing Cavan & Monaghan 2010. | An ExSite website