Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Opioids in the UK

Friends, doctors, and tramadol: we might have a problem

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 18 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5599
  1. Adam Winstock, consultant addictions psychiatrist and honorary senior lecturer12,
  2. James Bell, consultant physician2,
  3. Rohan Borschmann, clinical psychologist and postdoctoral researcher3
  1. 1South London and Maudsley NHS Trust, London, UK
  2. 2Addictions Clinical Academic Group, King’s College London, London, UK
  3. 3Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, UK
  1. adam.winstock{at}

Over the past two decades, opioid prescription for chronic non-cancer pain has risen rapidly in the US, partly as a result of aggressive marketing.1 2 As prescribing increased, so did non-medical use.3 Prescription opioid misuse is now the leading drug problem in the US, with more overdose deaths from prescription opioids than from heroin.4 Recent data show that deaths related to prescription opioids are also increasing in England and …

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