Opioid Analgesic (painkillers) Dependence


Opioid Analgesic Dependence (OAD) is becoming a major healthcare problem all over the world. Most people who become addicted to opioids do so after a prescription for a painkiller following a medical procedure. Once the phenomenon of craving sets in, it is often too late.

Codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, pethidine, and other opioid analgesic (painkillers) medications can help manage pain when prescribed for the right condition and when used properly. But when misused or abused, they can cause serious harm, including addiction, overdose and death.

Opioid Analgesic Dependence may be a consequence of treatment for pain, or result from consumption of illegally acquired or diverted analgesic drugs, possibly related to underlying mental health problems such as anxiety. Affected populations and clinical management are different from street heroin dependence.

Patients are prescribed opioids for a painful condition and, as time passes by, some patients tend to use them (codeine, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol and others) in larger amounts and for longer periods of time than initially agreed with their clinicians.

Painkiller addiction has developed and that is a major problem for the patient (loss of control), for the family (worried about the patient behaviour including denial of bizarre conduct) and for the clinicians.

Treating pain and addiction is very difficult. Clinical expertise in both addiction and pain management is needed.

The OAD Clinic specialises in treating these complex situations with a compassionate approach and clinical knowledge.


Consultant in Pain Medicine, Anaesthesia and Intensive Care

Dr Bhaskar is the President of the British Pain Society and has served two terms as an elected member of the Council of the British Pain Society. He was also the Executive Liaison for Interventional SIG, Neuropathic pain SIG and Cancer Pain Committee of the British Pain Society, and chairs the Communications Committee. He is also the Hon. Secretary of the Neuromodulation Society of UK and Ireland.

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