Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

True Toll of Prescriptions for Opioids in Britain Is Double What They Told Us; Standard Investigation Finds NHS Data Failed to Include Key Drugs

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

True Toll of Prescriptions for Opioids in Britain Is Double What They Told Us; Standard Investigation Finds NHS Data Failed to Include Key Drugs

Article excerpt

Byline: David Cohen Investigations Editor

THE OPIOID TIMEBOMB THE number of people who have been prescribed opioid painkillers in England is twice the total previously released by the Government, the Evening Standard has found.

A Freedom of Information request was sent to the NHS Business Services Authority as part of the Standard's Opioid Timebomb investigation. It showed that 6.2 million unique identifiable patients were prescribed opioids last year.

Earlier this year, the NHS said the figure was half that, at 3.1 million. The older data from NHS BSA failed to include patients prescribed three common opioid analgesic compounds called co-codamol, co-dydramol and co-proxamol. This was a significant omission and a strong indicator that the number of opioid addicts in the UK is likely to be significantly higher than experts believed. European trials suggest a 4 per cent addiction rate, which translates into 250,000 addicts in England, double the 125,000 figure previously assumed. One task of a government review announced this year is to firm up the number of opioid addicts so that adequate treatment can be provided.

Our latest inquiries revealed that the total number of opioid analgesic prescriptions dispensed to the 6.2 million patients in England was also significantly higher than previously thought at 41.4 million. This is 17.5 million more than the 23.9 million figure provided by NHS Digital earlier this year.

It also means that the amount spent on opioids was PS350 million, which is PS87 million more than the public had been led to believe. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.