Rise in Prescription Drug Addiction

Rise in prescription drug addiction

Recent reports from a leading UK rehab provider have shown that the number of people addicted to legal prescription drugs is overtaking those struggling with heroin abuse.

According to the report there has been a 22% increase in admissions caused by prescription drug addiction over the past two years. 17% of the overall increase has been caused by Benzodiazepines and codeine alone. At the current rate of growth this issue with prescription drugs could soon overtake admissions for alcohol and illegal drugs.

Eytan Alexander, founder of UK Addiction Treatment Centres (UKAT) who reported the findings, stated:

“People believe that if they’re prescribed a drug or if they can buy it in their local corner shop, then they’re not an addict.

We still admit people into our treatment centres who remain completely unaware that they have an addiction problem to Codeine or Benzo drugs, because they get them from their doctor, making it completely legal.

The fact of the matter is that in most cases, the recommended dosage and length of time of consumption is exceeded, meaning that person is now a drug abuser, regardless of the ‘legality’ of the drug in question.”

As highlighted above, part of the issue with prescription drug addiction (as was the case with former legal highs) is that because the drugs are accessible, users don’t think they can be harmful. Some of the side effects of prescription drug abuse can be devastating, with different drugs causing different long and short term effects. Below we have broken up the different drugs and their potential serious effects:

Opiates (Painkillers, Codeine, Morphine)

Possible effects include

  • Sedation
  • Slowed breathing (can be slowed enough to cause death)
  • In extreme cases, pneumonia
  • Can lead to lung cancer


Sedatives (Benzodiazepines, Barbiturates, Sleeping Tablets)

Possible effects include

  • Slowing of heart rate
  • Slowing of brain activity
  • Potential memory loss
  • Seizures


Stimulants (Ritalin, Adderall, Focalin)

Possible effects include

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Paranoia
  • Heart failure


Although these drugs can be safe if used properly, they can still be addictive. It is therefore imperative that users are aware of all side-effects before taking.

About Randox Testing Services

At Randox Testing Services we are at the forefront of alcohol and drug testing. We aim to not only provide complete drug and alcohol testing solutions, but also to educate and raise awareness around the message of alcohol and drug misuse.

We work across a wide range of sectors within business and family law. Across these sectors there are huge ramifications of alcohol and drug abuse for all involved and the detection of positive results is crucial.

For more information on our products and services or how we can help call +44 (0) 28 9445 1011 or email, testingservices@randox.com