There’s A Reason Opioid Use Has Surged During The Pandemic

The use of opioids increased significantly during the pandemic as patients waited for surgeries such as hip and knee replacements, research reveals.

The University of Aberdeen study found the numbers of patients using opioids while waiting for surgery increased by 40% compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The waiting time for surgery was an average of 90 days longer during the height of the pandemic as hospitals shifted to focus on providing acute care.

Long-term opioid use before surgery is associated with increased risk of complications related to the operation, poorer outcomes, and ongoing opioid dependence, the researchers said.

HuffPost UK has previously reported on the rise of opioid use in the UK, which includes drugs such as morphine and strong codeine, which are only available on prescription.

The number of opioid drugs being prescribed to patients in England has been steadily rising since 2010, and prescription figures are higher in poorer areas, compared to more affluent ones.

Patients who developed addition to prescription opioids shared how they obtained the drugs illegally when prescriptions ran out. One man, who was prescribed codeine while recovering from a broken hand, lost his job, his driving license and his family, telling us opioid use “can ruin lives”.

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