Painkiller Addiction Information Network

You are not alone

Launch of new Alliance for Opioid Painkiller Dependency

Launching the new Opioid Painkiller Dependence Alliance which is an ‘umbrella’ body forming an alliance of organisations involved in pain control and in addiction management. PAIN are delighted to be have been one of the founding members and one of the 8 core members, which together represent the interests of both the pain and addiction communities.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 21.21.05

Click here to read the full report

Our first task was to publish a report regarding the current status of OPD in the UK. Anecdotal evidence from GPs support the view that a large number of people are dependent on opioid painkillers. It seems many patients would accept that they are dependent on them but are unwilling or unable to recognise the harm or acknowledge any real risk to their health or wellbeing. Since OPD usually develops from a legitimate health need that may be associated with a wide range of medical conditions, it affects people across gender, ethnic and social groups. A significant number of deaths are associated with the taking of opioid painkillers.

The OPD Alliance’s fundamental objectives are;

  1. programmes to screen and identify patients at risk of developing dependence.
  2. early access to effective treatment in a suitable environment is available across the UK
  3. campaign for the establishing of support and information services for OPD patients and for their families
  4. encourage more informed communications to reduce the stigma
  5. ensure skill and knowledge amongst the healthcare workforce across the UK, to enable the provision of appropriate OPD services
  6. support robust pain assessment and management, including access to appropriate opioid painkillers

BMA calls for much needed action to tackle prescription drug dependence

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 18.50.32

Click here for full report

PAIN welcomes the publication of the analysis report by the BMA’s Board of Science, titled ‘Prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal – building a consensus for action’ which was published on 12 October 2015. The BMA is the British Medical Association is the trade union and professional body for doctors in the UK.
The report reviewed evidence and submissions from a variety of stakeholders, including patient groups and medical bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Unfortunately, PAIN did not have the opportunity to submit as part of this process. Dependence on opioid painkillers is one of the drugs of dependence considered as part of this report.
PAIN agrees with  CEP and the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ view (expressed in the report) that traditional addiction services are not appropriate for patients dependent on prescribed drugs, and supports its call for a review of the evidence and clinical guidelines in this area, including optimal methods of withdrawal.

The report noted that existence of guidance for opioid prescribing is not always followed. For example, while the Faculty of Pain Medicine have published guidance (in collaboration with a number of other organisations) on the appropriate use of opioids, they reported “…that guidelines in the UK and elsewhere have had little, if any impact on opioid prescribing trends and ……falsely reassuring prescribers and eroding sound patient- centred clinical decision making.” There was little discussion in responses as to why doctors might prescribe outside of the guidelines.

The APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence believes that the priority here is to provide support services for patients who have become dependent, starting with a government-funded national telephone helpline. PAIN welcomes this report and hopes that the BMA will work with us and others in partnership to support this issue. We very much agree with the APPG that there is a country wide need to support people with a dependence on prescription drugs with access to a national telephone helpline.

Australian Doctors and pharmacists at odds over plan to make codeine prescription-only

Screen Shot 2015-10-02 at 09.46.18The story in the Guardian online today  reveals that in Australis there is a move to restrict codeine based medicines to prescription only stopping the purchase of medicines like Neurofen Plus or Panadeine Extra in the pharmacy. The system in Australia has is very similar to the UK, however this is not the case in every country some have these stricter regulations. In the USA you cannot purchase any codeine medicines the only way you can get codeine based medicines is with a prescription. 4928

Doctors in Australia said the move was a sensible approach to reduce the number of Australians addicted to the narcotic, which is found in low doses in popular painkillers. But pharmacists said the plan, recommended by the nation’s medicines regulator the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), would clog up GP clinics and increase health costs, without effectively identifying addicts. The Pharmacy Guild of Australia said the move would inconvenience the vast majority of Australians whose use of codeine-containing drugs available over the counter was responsible.

This week the TGA made an interim recommendation to make such drugs prescription-only to combat rising addiction rates and other serious health risks associated with the opioid. A final decision will be made in November, with a view to moving to prescriptions by 1 June, 2016 at the earliest. The pharmacy guild accepted the need for action on codeine addiction, but said there were better ways to do so.

Opioid Painkiller Awareness Day – 22 September 2015

CK and Joe pic

Cathryn Kemp – PAIN & Joe Kean – The Bridge Project

Chief Executive of PAIN, Cathryn Kemp, discussed the UK’s first Opioid Painkiller Addiction Awareness Day on Tuesday, September 22, with Joe Kean from The Bridge Project in Bradford.

Click here for the press release

Click here for the press release

Ten radio interviews later and we’re looking pretty tired – but it was all for a great cause. Both the Painkiller Addiction Information Network (PAIN) and The Bridge Project support raising awareness of addiction to prescribed and over-the-counter opioid medication.

Ireland still calling for access to treatments for opioid addiction

A story published today in the Irish Times  calls for the funding of an alternative treatment for opioid addiction.

 Dr Ide Delargy ICGP

Dr Ide Delargy ICGP

Unlike in the UK the only treatment widely available in Ireland is Methadone there is very limited access to Suboxone even though the Governments Expert group recommended access to this drug in a report published way back in 2011.

Today, Dr Ide Delargy, from the Irish College of General Practitioners and a member of the HSE’s implementation group for the drug, said it was time the country moved on from a “one-size-fits-all” approach to opioid addiction. “I don’t think people would accept a situation in, say, heart disease that just one drugs is available,” say Dr Delargy. This report specifically recommends this medication be made available to “patients who are being treated for codeine and other pharmaceutical opioid dependencies” and yet this is not widely available to patients in the Ireland as it is in the UK.

PAIN New Look !

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 13.24.43

IMG_1356We are delighted to share with you our new look logo and our first PAIN Information Flyer. Our logo was developed with the guidance and support form LEC – Brand Communications. The image signifies the continuing cycle of pain that some people may experience and the help and support that is out there not only for people who have a problem with addiction to painkillers but also their family and friends. With this support you can overcome your dependency on opioid medications prescribed or bought over the counter.Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 13.21.03

The flyer was designed and printed by Spectrum Graphics from Bexley, they have done a fantastic job in capturing our essence and creating our first piece of information that we can share.

Click here to download and share our new PAIN Information Flyer.

New report into Painkiller Dependency in the UK

House of Commons Pic
APPG PMDThe All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependance  have published their first report into the painkiller dependancy called ‘Opioid painkiller dependency (OPD) – An Overview’.  PAIN welcomes the acknowledgement of our organisation as the only UK organisations dedicated to raising awareness and supporting those addicted to painkillers and we are also a member of the Opiate Painkiller Dependency Alliance.

The conclusions from the report confirm that by every indicator, the use of prescription and OTC painkillers is on the increase. This is accompanied by rising mortality. The report highlights the concern with an ageing population where prescribing for pain is likely to increase further. Evidence they reviewed suggests that the cohort of those experiencing OPD is very different from the cohort traditionally using drug treatment. The APPG calls for new services to be developed to cater for OPD patients needs and these services should be established within GP surgeries.

Click on the report image to be taken directly to the full report.