A REPORT has signposted the danger of addiction to prescribed drugs in Ludlow and south Shropshire with thousands of people affected in the county.

Public Health England has, for the first time ever, released the results of a prescribed medicines review which highlights the dependence on and withdrawal from prescribed drugs across the country.

More than 3,000 people in Shropshire were prescribed a Benzodiazepine in March 2018, with 46 per cent (1,425) also having been repeatedly issued the drug for at least 12 months before.

It shows the estimated proportions of people with a prescription in the month of March 2018 living in the West Midlands, as well as how many of those people have been receiving the prescription for at least a year.

The report has delved into prescribing rates for antidepressants, opiate pain medicines, gabapentinoids, benzodiazepines, and Z-drugs. Detailed analysis of the report by addiction treatment experts at UKAT shows that in just the month of March 2018, almost a million people living across the West Midlands and part of the 20 Clinical Commissioning Groups were issued a prescription for any of the above drugs.

UKAT’s concern is for that almost half of these patients, 461,590, have been repeatedly prescribed these highly addictive drugs for at least 12 months, and for some, perhaps even longer.

UKAT, a group of rehabs which treat hundreds of patients for prescription drug addiction each year, welcomes Public Health England’s review and hopes that it will serve as a ‘serious wake up call.’

“This report shows us that thousands of people living across the West Midlands are crying out for help, and unfortunately, they’re being given plasters in the form of pills to solve their problems,” says Nuno Albuquerque, group treatment lead at UKAT.

“There is no doubt that in the short-term, these drugs may help, but long-term use of these drugs, for the majority, will be ineffective because over time, the patient is likely to develop physical and psychological tolerance to the drug.”

Officials at Public Health England have said that long-term use on such a scale could not be justified and was a sign of patients becoming dependent.

Opiate prescription pain medicines can include codeine, morphine, fentanyl and Hydrocodone.

For more information and support on prescription drug addiction, visit http://bit.ly/2lDJ3Aa