Sunday, February 01, 2015

Addiction available, cheap

Codeine is a dangerously addictive drug that can and should only be taken under prescription. We know that. And yet it's sold over-the-counter, available to anybody who has about £4 on them, whether they require the drug or not. This OTC medicine may be a low enough dosage to not require a doctor's prescription, but there's a perfectly clear message on the packs, warning that codeine is addictive and the tablets should not be taken more than 3 days in a row. 

So, you'd think the tablets would be in packs of three so that nobody could abuse the medicine without having to go back to buy more, wouldn't you? No... the codeine tablets are available in multi-packs - 16 tablets, 28 tablets and so on. Why? 

And another thing - people who buy codeine tablets without a prescription should be asked to provide their NHS ID, whether they pay in cash or by card - so that their purchases can be monitored. I don't know if this is currently being done, but if it isn't, shouldn't it? Since an awful lot of personal medical and health information is already being held online, surely adding this will not be difficult. 

There are plenty of people who would bleat about giving the government more power to "spy" on people and take our society one step closer to becoming a "nanny state". I don't think this would matter, partly because I believe the government is spying on us anyway and we ARE living in a nanny state. At least monitoring this extra information might actually help prevent people from becoming inadvertent codeine addicts, or current addicts from covertly feeding their addiction. Maybe it would even save the NHS money in the long run. 

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