FOUR out of five doctors routinely prescribe drugs to patients even though they believe they are addicted to them. That is the alarming finding of a survey by the Family Doctors Association. Official statistics estimate that about 1.5 million NHS patients may be hooked on sleeping pills, anti-depressants and painkillers. Some of them may have been kept on the drugs by their doctor for years.
In the Daily Mail there is a remarkable story of a woman who was prescribed tranquillisers by her doctor 20 years ago after the death of her five-month-old daughter. She blames the subsequent addiction for the breakdown of her marriage.
The Mail asks the vital question: Is your doctor turning you into a drug addict? Read the article in full >>
The Mail says that a report from the Health Research Board last year found that the numbers being treated for ‘problem use’ of benzodiazepines between 2003 and 2008 rose by 63 per cent. Benzodiazepines — addictive Valium-type tranquillisers — are believed to be the main cause of addiction problems on the NHS.
In 1988, the NHS was warned that benzodiazepines should not be prescribed by a doctor for more than a few weeks.
However, the latest official figures show that more than one-third of such prescriptions are for more than eight weeks. Many patients take them for years.
Put simply, taken long-term, the pills knock out the brain’s ability to make its own ‘feel-good’ chemicals. When an addicted patient stops taking them, they can crash into depression and suffer sweats and panic attacks.