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Island Dodges 'Opioid Epidemic'

An Opioid crisis that has swept across the US and the UK appears to have been avoided by Guernsey.

Geraldine O'Riordan, Prescribing Officer at the States, said that in the US and UK the highly addictive drug has been prescribed to those with chronic pain, something the drug is not meant for.

The drug is intended to relieve those in severe pain following major medical surgery, or to those suffering from Cancer, for instance.

Its use to ease long-term and life-long pain has resulted in high addiction levels.

Geraldine told Island FM that Guernsey specialists have been sure to refer sufferers of chronic pain to other forms of treatment and services available.

"For people with chronic pain drugs are not the only answer. A lot of it is management, living with the pain, exercise therapy is incredibly important, cognitive behaviour therapy. Our nurse consultants at the Hospital offer a very wide range of intervention, so drugs are only a very tiny part of care for these patients."

The expected saving for the taxpayer is a substantial financial success too.

It's thought that assuming the cost had been exactly the same and not gone up, the island would spend £50,000 per month. This has now decreased to £20,000 per month.

This £30,000 per month saving does not consider fees, rises in prices or any other market changes.

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