A prescription drug is killing more people than cocaine and heroin, a Northern Ireland’s state pathologist, Jack Crane, warns.
Prof. Crane has called for Tramadol to be upgraded to a Class A drug after an influx of deaths.
Last year, thirty-three deaths in Northern Ireland were associated with Tramadol, including a pensioner in his 70s and a 16-year-old girl.
Taken by numerous people on a daily basis to provide pain relief, it may be deadly when combined with other drugs or alcohol.
Tramadol is a painkiller (synthetic opioid analgesic) that’s often prescribed to relieve moderate to severe pain—like that experienced in chronic conditions such as arthritis or after surgery.
This prescription painkiller is killing more people than any other medication and that’s why it needs to be upgraded to the Class A category.
Currently a Class C drug – classified as one of the least harmful medications – Tramadol is used to treat both moderate and severe pain.
But, its last reclassification in 2014 made it illegal to use the medication without a prescription.
Experts claim the drug does not cause any harm if taken properly.
Prof. Crane explains that most people do not know how potentially risky taking this painkiller is. He thinks it is because it is a prescription drug – people think it is safe.
The medical world has long been aware of the dangers that coincide with taking the painkiller, with more than 5 hundred people dying from unsafe Tramadol consumption between 2006 and 2011, most of which were accidental overdoses.
Prof. Crane warns that Tramadol overdoses may cause people to lapse into a potentially fatal but sleep-like coma.
The painkiller is readily available online, with some sites offering it on next delivery without a prescription, and it is incredibly cheap.
Anti-drug campaigners think an increasing amount of people are looking towards the black market for the drug.
Prof. Crane thinks more people will die unless action is taken to crackdown on illegal sales.