Among all the sad stories of our time, one of the most striking is that of prescription drug addiction.

The "opioid crisis" has aroused anger over the opportunism of multinational drug companies and numerous articles warning of the dangers of drugs.

For example, a woman who received co-codamol for a knee injury when she was a teenager, but who now, as a mother, admits a level of addiction that has made her difficult. to maneuver and deceive the system to get more. Learn more about addiction-stricken families and busy professionals who secretly depend on high daily doses.

Even soap operas have shown how ordinary people can be driven to addiction without doing anything illegal. Dr. Ali in Coronation Street is the last character to have suffered and before him, Kylie Platt and Joe McIntyre.

Libby Purves (pictured) revealed why she was afraid of taking powerful painkillers, despite the fact that she was suffering from chronic sciatica in her right leg.

Libby Purves (pictured) revealed why she was afraid of taking powerful painkillers, despite the fact that she was suffering from chronic sciatica in her right leg.

Nevertheless, the pills have their utility, at least in the short term. And, like many people who suffer from unbearable pain, they are offered to me, even if I promise not to endure them long.

After spending most of my life taking only paracetemol, a new knowledge of powerful painkillers. For the past ten years, I have had chronic sciatica, a violent nerve pain, along the right leg. This is due to a nervous vertebra, which I saw in scan.

I'd like to think, with bitterness, that this is a result of a young past wearing a very heavy BBC tape recorder on my right shoulder, as a local reporter and then Radio 4 Today.

The pain sometimes subsides, but this summer it has degenerated into such an extreme activity that – like the sinister original of The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen – every step I make stabs like a knife.

I've tried everything to fix it, advised by doctors and physios. I do exercises, I bike (I creak loudly with each pressure on a pedal), I try to heal with strange vibrating belts and I find myself meekly on my stomach for 30 minutes a day, trying to develop a way to read without fatigue of the neck.

But add a damaged knee on the same side, and it has come to the point that five minutes of walking on the road can leave me speechless, stinging with tears and leaning against a wall or a tree (the dog always patient by my side), who try to stretch it. to little effect.

So for a while, every time I saw a report on the opioid scandal, my first casual response was to say, "Give me one!" However, when I was offered, I flinched.

Despite everything, after talking to my excellent GP and seeing that everything else had failed, I decided to try them out.

Libby's doctor prescribed him anti-inflammatory pills, then codeine-based drugs before giving him gabapentinoids (image of the file)

Libby's doctor prescribed him anti-inflammatory pills, then codeine-based drugs before giving him gabapentinoids (image of the file)

The doses are low: I started taking an ordinary anti-inflammatory, then codeine-based, which did not provide any relief, and gabapentinoids, the last two categories appearing at the top of the list, prompting the worry of a long term addiction.

If you accept a prescription, it's stupid not to take it exactly as the doctor says for a few weeks. But when it comes to pain relief, I have to say that so far, it's not a miracle.

It may be just as well: I know, as my doctor knows, that far from asking for more at the next visit, I will demand to leave them and pack myself for any other solution.

If it is hanging upside down near my ankles, sleeping in a freezer or going to a shaman healing healer of faith in Nova Scotia, I am there.

I think my attitude "everything but the pills" is particularly strong thanks to the legacy of a Scottish Presbyterian father and a down-to-earth mother – whose mother was pill-like . These inherited attitudes mean that I hate to take anything: Six months under Prozac for a bad depression in the 90's have made me feel a positive outcast.

But there is no point in being unreasonable, and certainly not in criticizing anyone who takes medications permanently for good reason. Many modern medicines, including antidepressants, are almost miraculous and some conditions require some people to take them all their lives.

However, it should be reiterated that even for the most commonly prescribed drugs, there are still questions to be asked.

Every year, 12 million British citizens are prescribed painkillers, anti-depressants or sleeping pills for use for six months (image of the file)

Every year, 12 million British citizens are prescribed painkillers, anti-depressants or sleeping pills for use for six months (image of the file)

Either science does not know exactly how they work (as in the case of SSRI antidepressants (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)), or medicine relies on sufficiently good data from large-scale trials.

Even worse, in the case of painkillers, over time, they do not even continue to work. All they do is make themselves painfully, urgently needed by the user.

Each year, some 12 million British citizens are prescribed painkillers, anti-depressants or sleeping pills for use for six months. It is thought that half still takes them after a year.

Public Health England reports that prescription rates are 1.5 times higher for women than for men and, shamefully, that the poorest people, especially in the less-favored areas of the North, receive more and take longer . Scotland is even more afflicted.

I am not an expert, but it is not difficult to state two reasons for this excessive prescription. First, in Britain, we do not have enough general practitioners to spend time analyzing what is really wrong with a patient with complex problems. Especially if he does not know how to explain well. Appointment slots of ten minutes – more like eight in a busy office – are not long enough.

NHS England claims to be investing more in conversation therapies, depression and "social prescriptions," such as exercise classes and art classes, in order to wean people off chemical remedies. Well.

They could also offer more physiotherapy to the NHS: it is difficult to get out of hospital care in acute care, but many chronic pain miraculously respond to these problems.

Libby, who loves the pills crisis, says she can not help but think about the life that was destroyed by prescription drugs (image of the file)

Libby, who loves the pills crisis, says she can not help but think about the life that was destroyed by prescription drugs (image of the file)

When I had a paralyzed arm of a nerve sectioned for four months, the offer of free physio ended so quickly that I spent the last three months of treatment to pay to private title.

I was lucky to be able to afford it – otherwise, I doubt to have any use of my left hand.

And then there is the second reason: the demand. When we feel bad, we are reassured by the drugs. We laugh to say that our grandmas require a tonic or a mixture for each discomfort – "the one in the green bottle always makes me feel good" – but the appetite for a simple solution has always been deeply rooted in humans.

Since the first wizards have distributed weird herbs or medieval apothecaries have pounded dried alligator pieces, people are happy to receive something that tells them that those responsible will relieve their pain. A pill for every disease!

Any doctor will tell you that the most difficult is to send a patient sad or angry without a prescription – an answer to his worries.

This is not about me; other people are much more afflicted than I have ever been.

But, looking from the extreme, I am sensitive to the crisis – and the medical dilemma.

As I desperately open the last strange medicine, asking myself how much it has to do with last night's nightmares and morning sickness, I can not help but think of all the lives destroyed by drug addiction on order.

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