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Spain’s Pill Problem

In a worrying trend, a recent survey has revealed that Spain is the biggest consumer of opioids in Europe.

Abuse of prescription drugs is already a problem in the US and is fast becoming one in the EU. In the survey by Valencia’s Doctor Peset University 18% of those questioned admitting to taking drugs at some point during their lives and almost 7% doing so in the last year.

Opioids are painkillers such as tramadol and codeine. According to a study published on – abuse usually happens when someone in pain gets a hold of them through a friend and starts to self-medicate, but they are also used as a party drug. “Codeine and tramadol are considered chic in Russia,” says José Martínez Raga, one of the co-authors of the study . “An overdose produces a stimulating effect.”

Spain is also leading in the consumption of sedatives “Some people mix them with cocaine or alcohol,” says Martínez. “They’re most commonly used by cocaine addicts.”

“In Spain, the use of prescription drugs is taken lightly,” he continues “In Spanish TV series, they talk about taking Orfidal and Trankimazin as if they were sweets. In drug campaigns, they should include not only alcohol and tobacco but also prescription drugs. Teenage years are crucial. And here we are seeing the problem starting in children.”

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