Thursday 22nd September is Opioid Painkiller Addiction Awareness Day
On this day last year new survey data estimated that nearly one in ten survey respondents believed they could be or could have been addicted to opioid painkillers. This research coincided with the launch of Opioid Painkiller Addiction Awareness Day (OPAAD), which aims to raise awareness about the potential for patients to become addicted to painkillers and the consequences of additction. Approximately one in six UK adults that were surveyed were concerned about the amount of opioid painkillers they take on an on-going basis and feel they have put themselves at risk of addiction, with a quarter taking opioid painkillers for more than five years. The implications of these results, which suggest that Opioid Painkiller Dependence (OPD) may deomonstrate a larger problem - a third of those surveyed last year who also realised that they were additcted did not seek medical advice or treatment.
The CPPC is campaigning for every patient on opioid-based pain relief to have, as a minimum, an annual pain assessment / pain medication review of chronic pain patients (in Primary Care or other care setting). Opioids are medications that relieve pain, morphine is an example. Opioids reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain.
An annual assessment would improve not only the patients’ pain treatment but also the emerging issues associated with prescribed opioid addiction. Yet the drugs have no defined review system in Primary Care.
There is anecdotal evidence that despite national guidance, only a small minority of people living with chronic pain (a recognised long-term condition in its own right, and element of other long-term conditions) are currently offered a care plan to be reviewed annually. The CPPC is working with Parliamentarians across both Houses to push this forward.