Painkiller addiction rise leads to increase in deaths
Deaths related to an addiction to prescription drugs, particularly painkillers like Vicodin, now surpass that of HIV, skin cancer and alcohol-related live disease in the US, researchers are saying.
Authors of the study, which has been published in the British Medical Journal, believe the deaths could be linked to doctors prescribing such painkillers to treat conditions like osteoporosis and not just cancer, for which they are commonly used.
Health experts are now calling for urgent action to tackle the issue, after the number of deaths caused by painkillers increased from approximately 4,000 in 1999 to over 14,000 in 2007.
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Although these figures relate to the US, it is thought almost two million Germans are thought to be addicted to painkillers and there are concerns the UK could face a similar situation.
That’s after a separate study carried out by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Abuse,revealed GPs in the UK were prescribing opioid analgesics increased from 228 million in 1991 to almost 1.4 billion in 2009.
The authors of this ‘Addiction to Medicines’ study said: “The use of strong opioids for chronic non-cancer pain has been described as a “disaster in the making.”
Experts believe the increasingly popular online pharmacies could be facilitating the trend as they do not require a doctor’s prescription.
Dubai's new smart neuro spinal hospital: need to know
We take a look at Dubai's new smart hospital.
What: The Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre is a new hospital featuring state-of-the-art technology for spinal, neurosurgical, neurological, orthopaedic, radiosurgery and cancer treatments. The 700 million AED hospital, (equivalent to £138 million), has 114 beds, smart patient rooms, and green spaces for patient rehabilitation, and is four times the capacity of its former premises in Jumeirah. It is also the UAE’s first hospital to have surgical robots.
Where: The hospital is located in the Dubai Science Park. Founded in 2005, Dubai Science Park is home to more than 350 companies from multinational corporations in life sciences, biotechnology and research; over 4,000 people work here each day.
Who: The UAE's Neuro Spinal Hospital and Radiosurgery Centre was first established in Jumeirah in 2002 by Dr. Abdul Karim Msaddi, as the first as the first "super-specialty" neuroscience hospital.
Why: With advanced diagnosis and robotics, the hospital will provide care across neuroscience, spine, orthopaedics and oncology for people residing in the UAE, as well as international patients.
Prof. Abdul Karim Msaddi, Chairman and Medical Director of the hospital, said: “We are proud to bring world-class healthcare services to Dubai and believe our next-generation hospital will be a game-changer for the emirate’s and the region’s medical industry.
"It will not only significantly increase the availability of specialist neuroscience and radiosurgery treatments and provide better patient care but help attract and develop local and international talent. Investing in the new centre represents our continued faith in the resilience of the region’s economy, as well as a testament to our ongoing drive towards healthcare innovation in the UAE.”