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Prescription or Problem?

Recent NHS Digital figures show that the number of drugs issued – for conditions like depression and anxiety has almost doubled in England since 2008. The data shows a rise in Wales also, with the number of items dispensed having risen 168% between 2002 and 2017.

With the number of prescriptions dispensed increasing; consequently there is a tangible increase in the number of addictions as a result of prescription medication, the majority becoming addicted to painkillers and antidepressants.

In this blog, we take a closer look at the scope of the problem surrounding prescription drugs in the UK and the testing options recommended for family law cases.

What’s the problem?

According to a report conducted by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)* four million people in England experienced some symptoms of withdrawal and in 46% of cases (1.8 million people) these were severe, thus resulting in a rise in addictions as a result of prescription medication.

In 2018, the government tasked Public Health England to undertake a review of prescription drug addiction and dependence as a result of NHS data revealing the increase in the amount of addictive medicines that are prescribed, providing recommendations by 2019.

The concern has risen in anti-epileptic drug use also, with the recent reclassification of Pregabalin and Gabapentin, used to relieve chronic pain. As of the 6th April, the drugs were reclassified to Class C controlled substances in the UK.

It’s clear, that prescription drugs are becoming a huge concern in the UK with the number of drugs dispensed now on the rise.

Testing for Prescription Drugs

Lextox tests for an extensive range of prescription drugs, including antidepressants, painkillers and sedatives. The list of drugs for detection can be found here.

Similar to the other drugs we test for; we recommend hair testing for the following reasons:

  • We can test hair for specific substances. Targeted analysis means you can look for particular compounds.
  • It provides a unique window of detection covering months, rather than days that urine or oral fluid analysis can show. A month by month analysis is useful in profiling a pattern of drug use.
  • Results and Expert Reports can be issued in an average of 4 working days of receiving the hair sample.
  • Results are legally defensible and are accepted in every UK family court.

To find out more about testing for prescription drugs or to book your sample collection appointment call 029 2048 4141 or email [email protected].

*Antidepressant Dependency and Withdrawal Antidepressant Submission to the Public Health England Review into Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal. May 2018

Published 09/05/19 – All information correct at time of publication