While addictions to substances such as alcohol and illegal drugs are something that most people are aware of, there are many other things that cause addiction. The reality is that any pattern of behaviour that causes negative consequences in a person’s life can be classed as an addiction. Those who repeatedly gamble to the detriment of their own life and the lives of others are known as problem gamblers, while individuals who feel they cannot cope with life without taking prescription medication could have a painkiller addiction.
It is difficult for most to comprehend the fact that prescription medication can be addictive. After all, this is a medication that is prescribed by medical professionals for the treatment of legitimate health conditions such as chronic pain or sleep disorders. Nevertheless, certain painkillers and sedatives are very addictive and can be extremely dangerous when abused.
Painkiller addiction is a growing problem here in the UK, with many people not even realising they are affected. It is often only when their doctor stops prescribing the drug that they become aware of their crippling need for it. At this stage, they may become desperate and begin what is known as ‘doctor shopping’. This is when they visit numerous doctors in the hope of getting their prescription filled.
One woman whose painkiller addiction ultimately cost her her life was Sarah Jones, who had actually been blacklisted from a local hospital because of the number of times she visited the A&E department there.
The young mum was so addicted to painkillers that she would visit A&E every time she experienced pain. At an inquest into her death, the coroner was told that she ‘thought she knew more than the doctors and nurses’.
A toxicology report after her death showed slightly elevated levels of gabapentin, a medication used to treat nerve pain. It also indicated the presence of amitriptyline, which is used to treat chronic pain and fentanyl, the deadly opiate that was responsible for the death of pop legend Prince.
Sarah would ask family members to call emergency services whenever she was in pain, but according to evidence from her mother, it appeared as though she was ‘fabricating’ her symptoms when the paramedics would arrive. If she did not get the answers she wanted from one hospital she would simply visit another; her father said she visited almost every single hospital in Greater Manchester.
Toxicologist Julie Evans said, “What we have is three drugs that are elevated over what we expect, and all three lower the rate of breathing. Toxicity is increased when all three are combined together, but none of them alone were a large overdose.”
Watching a loved one struggling with addiction is heartbreaking, particularly for parents. It is often the case that no matter what others do or say, the addicted individual will simply not accept help. This was certainly the case for Sarah’s father, who said he tried to help her, but she would always refuse.
She had taken a morphine overdose on several occasions, ending up in intensive care, but still could not quit. Her father said, “When she was 14, she started to experience some problems with school, and like any teenager, she began smoking and drinking. Things started to change when she began collapsing in her home and her boyfriend at the time would ring me or Sarah’s stepmother to see if one of us could look after her son whilst he took her to hospital.”
Sarah Jones’s life ended in tragedy because of her painkiller addiction, but it does not have to be this way. If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, call us here at Primrose Lodge today. We can treat any type of addiction including a painkiller addiction, and our success rates speak for themselves. Call today for more information.
Source: Woman ‘whose painkiller addiction eventually killed her’ had been ‘blacklisted from a hospital because she visited its A&E so much’ (The Sun)