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The Rise in the Prescription-Medicine Abuse in the UK

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The Rise in the Prescription Medicine Abuse in the UK

Drug addiction is the term coined for the strong compulsion to get used to substances, even though a number of undesirable and even lethal consequences are inevitable. The term has been described as a medical disorder that influences the brain and influences behavior. However, drug addiction can also occur as a happenstance, when illicit drugs, prescription medicine, or over the counter medicines may fuel the addictive patterns in patients, pushing them to the verge of addiction.

The Prevalent Issue of Drug Addiction

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) similarly elucidates addiction as a recurring and relapsing condition characterized by individuals impulsively seeking and utilizing drugs despite adverse outcomes.

The recent statistics by the Home Office Crime Survey for England and Wales 2018/19, revealed that people aged between 16-24, have taken drugs in the last year, which equates to approximately 1.3 million people, that reflects an upward trend since 2015.  While the report by the Statistics on Drug Misuse, England, 2019 unleashes that there was over 7000 hospital admissions for drug-related mental and behavioral disorders. 20.3% adults had taken an illicit drug in the previous year, which includes young adults aged 16 to 24. Sadly, the report further reveals that there have been approximately 3,000 deaths associated with poisoning by drug misuse.

The World Drug Report 2019 reveals that 35 million people across the planet suffer from drug use disorders, requiring medical intervention. The report goes on to estimate the number of opioid users at 53 million, which is twice as high as previous estimates. Opioid usage contributed to the two-thirds of the 585,000 people who died due to drug use. In the wake of these statistics, it is evident that drug abuse due to prescription medication like opioids remains to be a pressing concern.

The Critical Role of Pharmacies in Forestalling Drug Addiction

As the young generation is turning from street drugs to prescription drugs for recreation or to boost their academic performance, pharmacists must enhance their vigilance when supplying medicines, be it on prescription or over the counter. 

“Drug addiction is a legitimate concern and it is the responsibility of pharmacies to be sure they are checking on the patient thoroughly to not contribute to their addictive patterns. Specifically, it is essential for the online pharmacies to maintain standards, as they are most likely to neglect the formalities before issuing medicines, thus increasing the risk of vulnerable patients developing addictive patterns,” says Boysan, Founder of The Independent Pharmacy

Is Drug Addiction a Disease?

The way to answer this question is to think about the social and environmental that contribute toward addiction as a whole. The one proponent that makes drug addiction a disease is that it is curable utilizing the rehabilitation techniques. However recurring relapsing behavior and the fact that some believe that abuser “choose” or “decide” to indulge in such activities goes against this argument. In fact, this unsettled argument compelled the Psychiatric Association (APA) to no longer use the term ‘addiction’ as they believed drug addiction to be a choice. The organization now adopts the term ‘substance use disorder’ as a way to describe ‘compulsive and habitual’ substance use.  This change has been specifically made considering the stigmas and confusion associated with the term ‘addiction’. However, what is certain is that no matter if drug addiction is a disease or not, if you require treatment for drug addiction, you are entitled to NHS care in the same manner as any other health issue.



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