It is estimated that over 1000 people die every year in the UK from an opioid overdose. It impacts every kind of person from every social class. Even celebrities have become addicted to opioids. The opioid crisis is the biggest medical threat to the UK for years.
Why people started taking opioids
Opioids were introduced at the end of the ’90s and since, have been offered by doctors to patients as an efficient solution to treat temporary or permanent stress or depression. The process is always the same: Regular people and families get a prescription for opioid pills to help with sleep, stress or depression.
This is an efficient solution, and many of these drugs work in a similar way to harder ones such as fentanyl, heroin and opium.
But nobody had the foresight to think ahead…
The real problem is not how efficient these drugs are, but the addiction that such molecules cause, due to its close resemblance with heroin. Taking an opioid today is the first step to heroin addiction. In a few weeks or months, new opioid users with normal lives start acting like junkies, destroying their lives and their families, stealing goods and money to fund their addiction and finally going to heroin or opium in their final mistake.
These parents, these families, these rich and poor people from all over the UK are all the victims.
Why are such addictive drugs so often prescribed?
For the last 20 years, opioids drugs have been hugely prescribed. There are various causes for this spread:
- Misunderstanding about the side-effect and the close resemblance to heroin.
- There are no other drugs on the market that match their effiency.
- Big marketing campaigns by pharmaceutical companies.
It’s not only in the past: In 2019 an estimated 1200 people died in the UK from an opioid overdose. Some errors have been made in the past and the UK Government is actively fighting the epidemic but is it enough? Opioid already killed more than 1000 people in the UK in 2018 and it’s time to look for a real alternative to these horrible chemicals.
But there is a solution
What is certain is that too many people are treated with too strong drugs, opioids should stop being the first solution we think about when we have a temporary problem or illness. Cannabidiol has been proven very efficient in some cases (sleeping, relaxing, recovering, etc …) and some new studies are demonstrating new medicinal properties of CBD. When you know that opioids are used mostly as painkillers you understand that CBD could be super useful because it is a proven painkiller too. But instead, CBD has no side effects and there is absolutely no risk of developing an addiction or going for higher doses or stronger drugs.
CBD could be very well a solution to treat patients with light or medium pain, and for people with a higher level of pain, it could be interesting to think about medical cannabis (legal in the UK) with a mix of CBD and THC like some existing authorized medication (e.g. Sativex). In most of the case, light CBD treatment should be envisaged first before thinking about medical marijuana and finally opioid or even stronger painkillers like morphine.
Well, I’m not a doctor or a scientist and as a small company owner, my word may not have the same reach as those big pharmaceutical companies or those who control health policy, but I think the process that leads to opioid prescription should change.
Logic dictates that it is better to start slowly to determine the best drug a patient needs. If a patient feels tired, you don’t give him cocaïne because it’s more efficient than a vitamin pill.