A painful topic: addicted to painkillers

Jessica lives with her husband and two kids in a typical suburban household. Her codeine addiction began when a dentist prescribed opioids after pulling her wisdom teeth. Jessica continued with an over-the-counter combination of codeine and anti-inflammatory painkillers.

She was unaware that she had become addicted. When she didn’t take codeine she felt down and couldn’t do anything. It was like she needed the medication to cope, to be able to manage the days. It helped her feel normal. But over time Jessica began to lose weight, and she became depressed.

One day she developed a stomach ulcer and severe anaemia as a result of the medication. Jessica’s family convinced her to visit the family GP and she eventually received the treatment and support she needed.

Jessica wants to share her story, which can be found on the website of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP).

People from all walks of life are dealing with an addiction to codeine and other opioids like oxycontin and endone. “We’re just ordinary house mums and husbands,” Jessica said.

For obvious reasons she is pleased that codeine products are no longer available over the counter. This group of painkillers has serious adverse effects and is generally not recommended for chronic, non-cancer pain.

Feel free to talk to your GP in confidence. We’re here to help.

Dr Edwin Kruys works at Ochre Health Medical Centres in Maleny

Unit 1 – 3, 39 Coral Street
Maleny QLD 4552

Call: (07) 5494 2388