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One in four adults in England prescribed potentially addictive drugs last year

13 per cent of the adult population in England were given opioids in the past year
13 per cent of the adult population in England were given opioids in the past year(Reuters)

Almost 12 million adults in England were prescribed potentially addictive drugs such as sleeping pills and painkillers last year, with half taking them long-term, a new report says.

A review of five classes of medicines – including anti-anxiety drugs, anti-depressants and opioid painkillers – found some patients struggle to come off them, suffering suicidal thoughts and anxiety as a result.

Public Health England (PHE), which led the government-ordered review, said a helpline must be set up to help the millions of people who may be dependent on the drugs.

Since at least a decade ago, more people are being prescribed potentially addictive medicines and for longer periods of time, it said.

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