The term drug addiction often refers to those who have a physical and psychological dependence on illegal drugs such as cocaine or heroin. However, what most individuals do not realise is that it is quite possible to develop a drug addiction to medication prescribed by a GP for a genuine medical condition.
In fact, prescription drug addiction is a growing problem, and the deaths of superstars such as Prince and George Michael has recently highlighted this. Many people across the country are finding it difficult to quit medication that has been prescribed to them to treat a health condition.
For those who have developed an addiction, it can be incredibly tough when their GP refuses to prescribe more of their medication. Some will take desperate measures and try to source their pills elsewhere. Others may turn to street drugs, which could have fatal consequences.
The powerful painkiller fentanyl hit the headlines after it was revealed that pop legend Prince had been struggling with a crippling addiction to the drug. It was found to have been responsible for the accidental overdose which led to his death.
This painkiller was also responsible for the passing of a Belfast man who was supplied the drug by his friend Timothy McIlroy. McIlroy had been sentenced to three years for supplying the drug that his friend overdosed on, but has appealed the sentence and had it cut by twelve months.
Over a six-month period in 2013, McIlroy supplied fentanyl patches to his twenty-five-year-old friend, who had developed an addiction to prescription medication. In October 2013, the victim overdosed with a combination of substances found in his system, one of which was the fentanyl supplied by McIlroy.
The death of his friend had been described as tragic and heartbreaking for his family; the victim had just started a new job and had completed a Master’s degree in science.
Feeding His Habit
McIlroy was prescribed fentanyl patches to treat his back pain. He had a history of cocaine misuse and rather than using the fentanyl patches himself he sold them to his friend so that he could feed his cocaine habit.
During the appeal of the sentence, McIlroy’s barrister said the case was ‘dreadfully sad’ and had resulted in one friend’s death and another finding himself behind bars. It was also heard that the victim had been a ‘brilliant academic student’ who had tragically fallen into a spiral of addiction.
McIlroy’s sentence was reduced to two years, with one to be served in prison and the other on licence. The judge said, “The impact report shows the profound effect the death had on the family of the deceased.”
He ordered McIlroy to engage in a drugs counselling programme during his time on probation.
The Tragic Consequences of Addiction
There are many consequences of addiction, and it is not just the individual who bears the brunt of this illness. Family members are often negatively affected when one member finds him or herself struggling with any type of addiction.
As in the case above, one family was left heartbroken by the death of their loved one, and another was no doubt left in a similar situation as they watched their loved one face time in prison.
The good news is that help is available for addiction. If you or someone you love is struggling to overcome a drug or alcohol addiction, contact us here at Recovery Lighthouse. Our programmes are designed with specific patients’ needs in mind, and our success rates speak for themselves. Contact us today for information on how we can help you get your life back on track.