If you’ve ever had a serious injury and had to be treated in the emergency room or even by a general physician, you may have been given something known as co-codamol if the incident didn’t warrant something stronger. In the U.S. co-codamol is more commonly known by its brand name Tylenol-2. It is a combination of two drugs—paracetamol and codeine—and although it’s considered one of the safer (a term used loosely) prescription pain-killers, it’s also proving to be extremely addictive.
Over the past decade, prescriptions for co-codamol have doubled. Along with other popular and addictive prescription opiates, like Oxycodone, these drugs often start out as a basic pain-reliever but turn into something much more sinister.
“’Patients and doctors perceive co-codamol as being the safest of all opioids, but in reality it doesn’t mean that it is safe,” says Glasgow-based doctor Des Spence to the Daily Mail. And as Spence notes, the addiction is hitting women at a higher rate than men.
For whatever reason, more women than men are addicted to opioids. Fortunately, they are also more likely to seek help for such addictions. One English agency says that 65% of addiction inquiries to their helpline are made by women.
Women often begin their journey into opiate addiction quite innocently enough, believing the “medicine” given to them by their doctor will do nothing but make them feel better. But it’s this unnaturally good feeling that can be addictive.
“At first I would only take them when needed, then somehow I found myself taking them every four to five hours, even when I didn’t really have a headache—it was the relaxed warm feeling that they give me I needed a constant supply of,” said one woman battling a co-codamol addiction.
Remember, this isn’t Oxycodone or Fentanyl—two addictive prescriptions that have been rightfully vilified—no, this is the “safest” one, the one that doctors opt for when the pain is worse than what over-the-counter can handle but not bad enough to warrant something stronger.
While doctors and Big Pharma continue to create and feed addictions, what they should be reaching for is natural pain relief and anti-inflammatories. And as for those of us who are accident-prone or deal with chronic pain, managing that pain, though difficult, should be done with as little prescription interference as possible.