‘Hooked on Painkillers’ was a Panorama special on Monday 2 November on BB1.
Having been what I presume you can only called ‘hooked’ on painkillers has been part of my life for over 15 years now.
In the program they investigated the record doses of highly addictive painkillers prescribed to patients by doctors, one of the opioids (drugs that are closely related to heroin) is one that I have been on for over 15 years.
The team go into an NHS clinic who’s aim is to help patients kick their prescription habit.
I have always been slightly anxious about being on such strong opioids in case an emergency happened where I would need the appropriate pain relief. This situation did arise a few years ago when I had to have surgery to an arthritic foot. The pain was ‘awful’ and they could give me nothing stronger because of what I was already on.
Earlier this year my Pain Consultant suggested that I should try and come off Tramadol as I have been on them for such a long time. Not long after my conversation about this I had a nasty fall down some steps and aggravated my back so cutting down on the drugs was put on the back boiler.
A couple of months later (this summer 2015) I decided to try to cut down on them. Apart from awful shakes I felt I was doing well and was soon down by half my normal dose, however it did need to up my Paracetamol and another muscle relaxant.
I thought all was going ok and was sure I could cut the dosage down even lower, but I just couldn’t.
After watching the program on Monday I decided I was definitely going to get myself off the opioids for good, no matter how long it takes. I also decided that I would keep a diary of how I manage this.
Since Monday I have cut down very slightly every other day rather than every day and can honestly say that the pain at the moment does not seem any worse. You can’t help but then think ‘is it all in my mind’ even though you have a proper diagnosis for your pain.
I will update my diary here regularly in the hope it may help others to reduce their intake of these addictive drugs.