Addicted to Painkillers? Britain’s Opioid Crisis – BBC2

Dr Michael Mosley Addicted To Painkillers? Britain’s Opioid Crisis
(Image credit: BBC/Wingspan Productions/Dan Murdoch)

Dr Michael Mosley investigates the UK’s extensive use of prescription painkillers in Addicted to Painkillers? Britain’s Opioid Crisis on BBC2

It seems we’re all popping painkillers as powerful as some class A drugs like never before, as new BBC2 documentary Addicted to Painkillers? Britain’s Opioid Crisis explores.

Last year a staggering one in eight of us in England and Wales were prescribed opioids, while countless more are abusing over-the-counter opioids like codeine or buying seriously strong versions online.

Dr Michael Mosley examines this crisis and meets several people in chronic pain, like Karen from Hastings, whose five years on tramadol and then morphine turned her into a zombie.

He also hears from Vicki, who, following treatment for kidney stones, was taking up to 70 over-the-counter codeine tablets a day at the height of her addiction, until she suffered a near-fatal overdose.

Michael and Vicki Addicted To Painkillers? Britain's Opioid Crisis

Michael talks to former addict Vicki in Addicted to Painkillers? Britain’s Opioid Crisis on BBC2

‘With the pharmacies it would be a case of finding out what time they opened.

‘Could I get there before work?

‘Could I get there after work or in my lunch break?

‘It was all very calculated,’ says Vicki.

‘The tablets gave me a warm, fuzzy feeling and a feeling I could conquer the world.’ ‘I was mindless. I felt like a drug addict,’ says Karen.

‘Joining different groups that have different ideas on how to live with pain can make a huge difference.’

For full listings, see our TV Guide.

TV Times rating: ****