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Opioid painkillers, which are intended to warn of addiction

Opioid painkillers will soon have to bear a strong warning of the risk of addiction in an effort to address growing concerns about prescription drugs and OTC drugs.

The regulations for opioid drugs have increased by 60% to 23 million per year over the past 10 years, according to the Ministry of Health.

Opium-derived drugs have a sedative effect and can cause feelings of joy.

The UK is one of the largest consumers of opioids in Europe, although these drugs are very effective for acute emergency pains, and do not even work in 90% of chronic chronic pain cases.

Long-term dependence on prescription drugs can have life-changing consequences and similar side effects on illicit drugs.

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Users can create tolerance and require stronger doses to have the same effect and suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop.

Although there is a significantly lower risk than illegal street opioids like heroin, overdose prescription drugs can still kill the user.

A number of high-ranking people have admitted dependence on prescription drugs, especially Ant McPartlin from showbiz duo Ant and Dec.

The presenter was open about her stints in rehabilitation and tried to address her addiction to painkillers that began after knee surgery in 2015.

The US opioid crisis is now so strong that in 2017 the Ministry of Health announced a national emergency.

It is estimated that by 2017, 11.4 million people in the country were abusing painkillers.

Drug dependence can have devastating consequences for users.

Health Minister Matt Hancock announced on Sunday that packaging conventional drugs such as morphine or fentanyl will now have to warn patients of the risk of addiction.

Mr Hancock said: "I was incredibly concerned about the recent increase in opioid addicts.

"Painkillers have been a major breakthrough in modern medicine and are extremely important to help people cope with their busy lives – but they need to be handled with care.

“We know that too many painkillers can hurt your health and some opioids are highly addictive and can destroy lives like illegal drugs.

“Things aren't as bad here as in America, but we have to act now to protect people from the darker side of painkillers.

"We need to focus more on ensuring that these medicines are used properly, and only for the treatment of pain, and that people are fully aware of the risks."

The alert text must be based on the Commission's Working Group on Opioid Treatment Working Group of the Commission for Medicinal Products for Human Use and will be enforced by the UK Regulatory Agency for Medicinal Products and Medicinal Products (MHRA).

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Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief physician for England, said: "We know that long-term use of painkillers can lead to life changes and sometimes fatal addictions – and I am pleased that measures are being taken to increase risk awareness and prescribed medicines.

“It is important that everyone who has prescribed strong painkillers only takes as long as they suffer from severe pain.

"Once the pain begins, drugs have done their job, and it's important to switch to over-the-counter medications like paracetamol that carry the same risk of addiction that comes with long-term use."

The specific deadline for the introduction of warnings has not yet been set, but the regulator believes that the review could be closed during the year.

An MHRA spokesman said: “After evaluating all the evidence, we are working as quickly as possible to introduce regulatory changes.

“These mark changes are the first step in a number of regulatory measures being developed.

“It will take some time for the new packaging to reach patients.

"Although we did not give the expert working group a specific deadline, we asked them to work quickly and, given the progress made, we expect the review to be completed in 2019."

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