Prescribed & OTC drug dependence

This section of the DrugWise website is dedicated to information and links concerning dependency problems arising from the prescribing of psychiatric and painkiller drugs and also those bought over-the counter or online.

Harry Shapiro is a member of the Secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Drug Dependence and is also assisting the Opiate Painkiller Dependency Alliance.

Key documents:

Prescribed medicines review: report, 2019
Report of the review of the evidence for dependence on, and withdrawal from, prescribed medicines | PHE, UK.

This analysis showed that, in 2017 to 2018, 11.5 million adults in England (26% of the adult population) received, and had dispensed, one or more prescriptions for any of the medicines within the scope of the review.

The totals for each medicine were:

  • antidepressants 7.3 million people (17% of the adult population)
  • opioid pain medicines 5.6 million (13%)
  • gabapentinoids 1.5 million (3%)
  • benzodiazepines 1.4 million (3%)
  • z-drugs 1.0 million (2%)

Opioid painkiller dependency (OPD) An overview (PDF) A report written for the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Drug Dependence by Harry Shapiro.

Other useful links:

Battle Against Tranquillisers helps those addicted to benzodiazepines, ‘Z’ drug tranquillisers, sleeping pills (and drugs with similar effects) and who wish to withdraw from them

The Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry (CEP) exists to communicate evidence of the potentially harmful effects of psychiatric drugs to the people and institutions in the UK that can make a difference.

Painkiller addiction information network is a UK charity dedicated to bringing together the pain and addiction communities to help fight addiction to prescribed medication