Home » AM’s concern over medicine misuse
News

AM’s concern over medicine misuse

imgID832445FOLLOWING the publication of shocking statistics on the use of prescription and over the counter medicines, Rebecca Evans, AM for Mid and West Wales, has called on the Welsh Government to issue a statement on how it is promoting the safe use of easily accessed medicines, and issue details of what support is in place for people who are abusing or who are addicted to prescription or over the counter medication.
New figures have revealed that more people in Britain are now killed by prescription and over-the-counter drugs than are killed by heroin and cocaine.
The figures published show that last year 807 people died in the UK as a result of taking anti-depressants and painkillers, compared with 718 deaths linked to cocaine and heroin.
In another study, a survey of 5,000 young people found that 33% admitted to taking painkillers every day.
Speaking in the Welsh Assembly’s weekly business statement, Mrs Evans raised the shocking figures with the Minister for Government Business, Lesley Griffiths, asking for “a statement from the Government on how you are promoting the safe use of easily accessed medicines, and details of what support is in place for people who are abusing or who are addicted to prescription or over the counter medication.”
In response, Lesley Griffiths confirmed that the Minister for Health and Social Services has raised this issue with the new chair of the advisory panel of substance misuse which is currently undertaking a review into the misuse of prescription medicines. She went on to say “that the Minister has made it very clear that Wales need to be able to pick up on the advice that emerges from that review.”
Mrs Evans commented further: “Over-the-counter medication can be very addictive. Indeed, the misuse and abuse of any medication can pose a variety of serious risks. Just because some medicines are easily available doesn’t mean that they can be used carelessly, or that they are not strong enough to have a significant impact on a person’s health.
“Abusing any drug is a serious matter, and it is important that people are informed about the risks involved. It is also important that there are services and support in place to help people who find themselves in a situation where they are addicted to or misusing medication.”
People who think they are addicted to medication or who are misusing medication can seek further advice and information from their GP.