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Pharmacovigilance in Defence Primary Healthcare: a simple educational intervention to raise awareness of risk of opioid dependency
  1. George Adams
  1. 12 SQN, Army Medical Service 3 Medical Regiment, Preston, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr George Adams, Army Medical Service 3 Medical Regiment, Preston, PR2 8AA, UK; Georgeadams16{at}

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Opioid medicines provide relief from acute pain; however, long-term use (in non-cancer pain) carries risk of dependence and addiction.1 An opioid epidemic has been well documented in the USA, causing huge numbers of deaths annually and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses. In light of the US experience, increasing rates of opioid usage in the UK are raising considerable concerns; a recent study of primary care electronic health records found that codeine prescriptions have increased fivefold from 2006 to 2017 and that 14.6% of people given opioids for the first time became long-term opioid users within a year.2

The rigours of military service often cause injury, which typically require …

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  • Contributors GA designed and carried out the audit. GA was the sole author for the letter.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.