acquiesce - July 5th, 2021

Opioid Addiction in the UK

The US has been severely affected by an opioid epidemic since the 1990s, facing roughly 142 opioid-related deaths every day. There are now growing concerns surrounding the rise of opioid addiction in the UK, with more and more people becoming addicted to the euphoric effect of prescription drugs such as morphine and codeine.

The current epidemic in the US is believed to have started as a result of doctors over-prescribing opioids for pain relief. Teenagers and adults who receive these prescriptions typically use them to treat headaches, period pain and pain from injury or surgery, however, individuals can become tolerant and dependent on the relieving and euphoric effects of opioids, often feeling stressed and down when they stop taking the medication. These are known as withdrawal symptoms.

Below are some common withdrawal symptoms that an individual may experience if they become tolerant or dependent on opioids:

Dependence and Tolerance:

  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Chills with goosebumps
  • Involuntary leg movements

With opioids being so readily available to most people, it can be incredibly easy for individuals to keep up this tolerance and over time, they often shift from milder opioids to much stronger ones in higher doses in order to feel the initi, making it more and more difficult to quit.

Tolerance and dependency are common among those who abuse opioids, however, this should not be confused with opioid addiction as this is a psychological dependency as opposed to a physical one.

Addiction can be broken down into four stages: Trigger, Avoidance, Substitution and Repetition. 


The trigger of an addiction is either an external action or internal emotion that triggers strong feelings. These actions or feelings are most likely negative, and can be difficult to face or resolve alone. 

Triggers could include stress from work, a traumatic experience or a hard breakup, but a great number of triggers are pre-existing mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and bipolar disorder.


Instead of dealing with these issues or seeking help from a doctor, these feelings and concerns will be pushed aside or avoided.


When the individual discovers that substances such as opioids provide a euphoric and numbing feeling, they then start to use them regularly to avoid those negative emotions that they’re failing to face head on. This is of course a quick fix and does not solve the problem long term but rather takes the focus away from it for a short time.


If these actions are repeated as a way to keep putting off having to deal with the negative emotions or actions and they start to become an emotional dependency, then an addiction begins.

Signs of an Opioid Addiction

  • Can’t stop taking the drug despite negative physical/social consequences 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in things once passionate about
  • Financial issues due to affording drugs
  • Lying, stealing and secretive behaviour
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of care for appearance and personal hygiene
  • Prioritise drugs over work, family and important responsibilities

How to Get Help with an Opioid Addiction

Individuals suffering with an addiction to prescription drugs may feel embarrassed or afraid of getting in trouble if they admit to abusing prescription drugs illegally. If you think you or a loved one may be suffering from an addiction to opioids, you can get the help you need with Acquiesce.

At Acquiesce, we treat each individual without judgement and keep all cases confidential. If you think you may be addicted to opioids, it is recommended by the NHS that you seek professional help from a treatment centre when quitting something you are addicted to.

Acquiesce can arrange a confidential detoxification placement for you which supervises the quitting process and the unpleasant withdrawal that follows, helping you to manage the symptoms and avoid a relapse.

We know that overcoming a drug addiction isn’t just about battling the physical difficulties that come with withdrawal, but the psychological triggers that a detox alone cannot resolve. 

That is why we have different programmes to help target the physical, psychological, spiritual and social sides of your addiction using the latest evidence based interventions, alternative therapies and activities, delivered by our highly trained and experienced team. These include a combination of the 12 Steps and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy which compliment each other excellently. 

For more information, schedule a free, confidential consultation call today.

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