The UK’s Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) has raised concerns regarding the increase in the number of deaths linked to misuse of Tramadol.
It is a widely-prescribed painkilling drug which has opioid properties, meaning it blocks pain receptors to the brain. It is used mostly to relieve pain in cancer patients and those with musculoskeletal problems (such as arthritis). Such drugs can also cause too much serotonin to be released into the brain, which can be fatal, and overdoses can cause rapid heart-rate, high blood pressure, vomiting and seizures.
The ACMD Chairman has called for Tramadol to be made into a Class C drug, due to increasing cases of illegal supply. The penalty for supplying Class C drugs is 14 years’ imprisonment, and up to two years for possession.
The number of deaths relating to Tramadol misuse have increased from 83 in 2008 to 154 in 2011.
The Home Office and Health Secretary are currently considering the ACMD’s recommendations.