OVER- the-counter sales of powerful codeine could soon be banned in the UK in a new addiction crackdown.
And packets of pills must carry “cigarette-style”warnings about drug dependency.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is to bring in tougher regulations to reduce the number of people hooked on painkillers.
It comes as alarming figures show the use of opioid painkillers such as morphine and fentanyl has risen more than 60 per cent in a decade.
The move means the likes of co codamol would be prescription-only.
In 2008, chemists dispensed 14 million packets –but last year that rose to 23 million.
In the same period, codeine and other opioid-related deaths in England and Wales have more than doubled to 2,000.
Painkillers must be treated with caution.We must act now. Some opioids can ruin lives like an illegal drugHealth secretary Matt Hancock
Mr Hancock said: “Painkillers must be treated with caution.We must act now. Some opioids can ruin lives like an illegal drug.”
Public Health England is to report on adding more drugs to the prescription-only list.
Packet addiction warnings will be enforced by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency.
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Drug firms will now be asked to place clear addiction warnings on all packs.
Senior doctors, drug specialists and MPs warn that the UK is on the brink of a US-style crisis, reports the Sunday Times.
Super-strength painkillers have killed more than 91,000 people in America in the past two years.
Jeremy Kyle guest addicted to cocaine and codeine told he’s got LESS than a year to live on the show
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