The Times: Rise of the over-the-counter opioid addicts

Press/Media: Research


Excerpt: Codeine sounds harmless enough. You can buy the painkiller without prescription in any British chemist. Yet codeine is an opioid drug that our livers turn into morphine — the basis of heroin. Experts warn that you can become addicted to codeine within a fortnight.

Now a vast increase in UK codeine use is fuelling fears of a national opioid-addiction crisis. Investigators at Manchester University warn that powerful-strength prescriptions for codeine have jumped fivefold in a decade.

Last week they reported in the journal PLOS Medicine how GPs’ prescriptions have shot up from 484 per 10,000 in 2006, to 2,456 per 10,000 in 2017...


Period20 Oct 2020

Media coverage


Media coverage


  • opioids
  • drug safety
  • prescriptions
  • epidemiology