By STEPHEN MATTHEWS
- Tramadol is currently classified as a Class C drug – among the least harmful
- But a leading pathologist believes they should be upgraded to a Class A
- They are taken by thousands of people each day to rid them of any pain
- He warns they can be deadly when mixed with other medication or alcohol
A prescription painkiller is killing more people than heroin and cocaine, a leading pathologist warns.
Tramadol is ‘claiming more lives than any other drug’ and should be upgraded to the Class A category, an expert claims.
Taken by thousands of people each day to rid them of pain, it can be deadly when mixed with other medication or alcohol.
Currently a Class C – deemed among the least harmful – the opiate-based drug is used to treat both moderate and severe pain.
However, its last reclassification in 2014 made it illegal to use the drug without a prescription.
But experts say the painkiller doesn’t cause any harm so long as it is taken correctly.
Professor Jack Crane, state pathologist for Northern Ireland, told ITV News : ‘I don’t think that people realise how potentially risky taking Tramadol is.
Currently a Class C – the opiate-based drug is only available through prescription in the UK
‘I think it’s because it’s a prescription drug – people assume it’s safe.’
And Professor Crane believes more people will die unless action is taken to crackdown on illegal sales.
This comes after a report concluded that cannabis should be legalised for medicinal use in the UK.
The controversial document, published by a cross-party group of MPs and peers, calls on the Government to allow sick people to grow their own cannabis under licence.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Drug Policy Reform also wants companies to be allowed to import or grow the drug, and for ministers to strip away legal controls so that it becomes less regulated than many painkillers.