Intended for healthcare professionals

Letters Codeine dependence

Time to review the provision of addiction treatment for codeine dependence

BMJ 2017; 359 doi: (Published 20 November 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;359:j5311
  1. Michelle Foley, Marie Curie research fellow1,
  2. Paolo Deluca, reader in addiction research2,
  3. Andreas Kimergård, postdoctoral research associate2
  1. 1School of Health Sciences, Waterford Institute of Technology, Waterford X91 KOEK, Republic of Ireland
  2. 2National Addiction Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience, King’s College London, London SE5 8BB, UK
  1. mfoley{at}

The anaesthetist jailed in the UK for stealing over 2500 codeine tablets from a hospital shows not only the vulnerability of the healthcare system to diversion of drugs but also the need for addiction treatment for those suffering from codeine dependence.1 Codeine dependence is a serious problem that can cause physiological and psychological harm.23

Deaths involving …

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