Anyone see that program about painkillers

According to this program, we are all just addict's and the painkillers are making the pain worse, and it goes on to show two success's , getting people weened off their strong painkillers, and lo and behold they are fine , and it shows you pictures of these two different people , one is shown surfing, and the other one is doing something strenuous like surfing also (sorry can't remember what she was doing) but the point they were making, is true, if people never needed strong pain meds in the first place, for anyone being able to come off and then be able to surf, say's to me anyway, that they never had such a pain in the first place and that is a different point entirely .

But I'm interested if others on here saw the program ??? best Alex

25 Replies

  • Wow miracles do happen then? Do say which channel and when then may be able to find it. Be interested too who made the prog - guess it wasn't a big opiate manufacturer!

    How did they show these people suffered chronic pain? Xrays to show broken discs or bent spines etc?

    This sort of prog isn't going to help pain sufferers with Joe Public who all have ' a bit of a bad back' when you say you have arthritis in the spine.

    Makes me angry

    Pat x

  • You can find it on BBC iPlayer - it was on Panorama a few weeks ago. Find episodes of Panorama and then look for the episode called: Hooked on Painkillers.

    There's a bit of an inaccuracy in what Alex says above. The programme didn't say we are all addicts. It looked at a few people who had become addicted to strong opiates and showed them being weaned off them. As a result, they were then much better than they had been when they were on too many opiates. Although I agree about the one surfboarding - there's no way I could get up or down off a surfboard with my joint pain!

  • Couldn't put it better. 💗

  • Hi, I saw it and was quite amazed that she could do what she did actually getting down onto a surfboard I think, and how she seemed to be moving around so very well and didn't look to even be in pain. I think it makes a mockery of all of us that are really in pain and need relief and are willing to put up with side effects so as to reduce the pain somewhat. I remember when seeing the programme saying to my husband about it and he reckons she could not have needed to be on painkillers if she could do all of that without!

  • Wow, sounds amazing but can anyone tell me where I can find it to watch it?

  • You can find it on BBC iPlayer - it was on Panorama a few weeks ago. Find episodes of Panorama and then look for the episode called: Hooked on Painkillers.

  • It was a BBC Panorama episode called 'Hooked on Painkillers', on 10 November 2015. If you cannot find it on BBC iPlayed, you might want to try youTube as I noticed it has been uploaded there as well.

    I thought a lot of the information in the programme was very interesting.

    However, indeed, the 'miraculous' contrast between the images of 'invisible' illnesses of chronic pain and fibromyalgia in the beginning, and the then 'surfing' fun shown in the second part of the documentary is not at all helpful for the case of chronic pain patients.

    It is difficult (to say the least) to understand how a tax payer subsidised institution like the BBC could deliver such an unbalanced image by presenting such a limited mumber of cases about such incredibly sensitive subjects as chronic pain / chronic illnesses!

    Each year hours/days of tax payers broadcasting time are spent on - very worthwile- charity actions, but a half hour or hour documentary like this can do a lot of harm for chronic pain patients! - Thank you very much, BBC.

    Let's hope there are other -very good- programmes to come...


    Migraine, Sciatica, Chronic Pain, Joint Pain, Arthritis, ME, FMS, Sjogrens sufferer

  • Yes' but I think they should let us know their credentials and who and why they come to this conclusion , for I'm sure there is interested partners in the background and funding this view and I suspect it's from some think tank set up to reduce the cost's of medicines, and as always people with chronic pain are easy targets, because the BBC and Panorama are hardly innocent in why they put out the wishes of gov't of the day and their set-up quangos and think tanks, whose only real motive is somewhat dubious due to it's link with the Conservative Party (maybe) .

    I think programs with agendas is what the BBC do best, and this one fits the bill nicely.

    There is a point in there somewhere, but I suspect there an agenda going on that spoils their point.

  • I didn't see the programme, and it was probably a bad example for them to use, but I definitely believe from personal experience that the more strong painkillers you take the more you need. I have periodically come off strong painkillers and had a (very painful) break from them for a while in order to be able to reduce my intake, and it really does work. I think also we are a bit brainwashed into believing that you can completely get rid of chronic pain, when I'm not sure that you can. For me, part of living with a chronic pain condition is recognising that I have to live with it, and that medication may dull it a bit but won't get rid of it completely without knocking me out. I'd now rather be alert with pain than drowsy and drugged and still not getting pain completely under control, though there are times when I give myself a break and do use strong pain relief.

  • I saw the program and I thought it was reasonably balanced. It is well known that opiates do not help with neuropathic and many other types of chronic pain. The program did say that opiates are appropriate for some types of pain and hat is fine. The sad reality is that there is no magic bullet as others have said here.

    It is also known that exercise can help ease pain too. I thought the surfboarder had done some exercises before taking to the sea.

    The whole essence of the program seemed to indicate

    1) GP and non-pain pain specialists are apt to prescribe inappropriate medications - this is well meaning but they just do not have the time/expertise

    2) we as patients expect miracles which sadly just aren't there

    3) opiates are addictive and have serious side effects which means they should only be used to treat certain specific types of pain

    4) we as patients should try and build up our level of exercise. The program indicated that this is a real challenge but can have good outcomes.


  • Sorry - I think I have been told a lie. My doctor told me what I have said about opioids. That doesn't give me much confidence in what else I have been told...

  • I think the research that suggests that opiates can be effective for neuropathic pain is fairly recent, so GPs in particular may not have caught up with that, however, I think if you really look into the medical research and recommendations for treatment, you will find that opiates aren't necessarily recommended as the first line treatment for neuropathic pain, i.e. there are several other sorts of medicines that should be tried first and are usually more effective.

    As far as addiction goes, yes, opiates can be addictive (but aren't always) but as well as that, you can very easily build up a tolerance to them (which is very common), and that means you need more to do the same job. That can be extremely dangerous if you are also taking other meds (or alcohol or marijuana) as opiates can then interact with other medications or alcohol and severely depress respiratory function (cause you to stop breathing). I have now known at least three people who have died because they stopped breathing while asleep under the effect of high doses of opiates (one also with some alcohol, one also having taken marijuana).

  • I too disagree with anniephys. I on occasions take co-dydramol for chronic pain and feel benefits of pain relief. It can't be said that it is well known that opiates do not help with neuropathic pain without any clear evidence.

  • I didn't see the programme but my brother told me about it. It was a Panorama programme on BBC 1, but I think it was a fortnight ago today.

    From what I heard, a number of people were not necessarily pain free, but felt able to cope with the pain, because they no longer had medication side effects as well as pain to deal with.

    I recently discovered that my increased migraine attacks were, in part, due to medication over use. I am still toughing it out without meds. It's very difficult, debilitating and unpleasant. BUT it's beginning to provide relief also.

    I know migraine attacks are different from long term chronic pain, I have had daily back pain for 14 years. In addition I was, for 11 months experiencing almost DAILY migraine. In the last two weeks that has reduced.

    Common sense says to me: if you have pain & your meds are working don't change your regime. If your meds cause side effects that are as bad or worse than your pain, then talk to a healthcare professional before you make any changes. Sadly there is no 1 cure fits all solution.

    I hope this is of use. Cheers.

  • I couldn't agree more, and the last few days I've cut mine down and I can't function too well, but I have always controlled my pill use, for it is just too easy to just rely on just one avenue for fighting pain, but the point I was trying to make was that there is within the health service a view that people are turning to medicines far too willingly and needlessly, and it is a point of view, but it should only be seen as that , a point of view , for I know just what it's like to be called a waster a drug addict, and other such thing's, whereas anyone who lives and copes with pain over many years, deals with it in a number of ways, for nobody wants to sit zonked out in your chair day after day munching sugary things.

    But what I want to add is that taking too many anti-inflamitrys and then going out and trying to keep walking can be dangerous, as I have found out too much , because If you take away all the swelling, your nerves are left too vulnerable and you can with no notice have your legs go completely, as (in my opinion) if you have no warning ,'pain' or other sign's, you can just be too unaware of your movements and be taken unawares and fall.

    I could not cope without good tools in my box, as that's how we should see painkillers just as another tool, an aid to give you some life and more importantly independence , and I object to looking down on people if they rely too much on painkillers.

    I hate to think of how so many people died in needless agony because of some nurse or doctors personal point of view about good pain relief , or their prejudice about the overuse of pain meds.

    Oh and my other bedbug is those who say' Oh they can't be in that much pain if their up on their feet, and going about, that's just not true, if you live with pain all the time ,you have to be a good planner, and given good tools, you can have some life, with some pain, or no life an no pain. sorry about the overly long rant, best Alex

  • I agree with totally. Meds are just one of the many weapons in our arsenal in the war on pain.

    I'm sure many of us deal with pain that has little if any outward signs. Only other chronic pain sufferers can understand.

    My brother has been lecturing me for ages about too much medication. The programme added fuel to that fire. But, the migraine specialist I saw put his gas on a peep.

    We each suffer pain from different issues, but with the right professional care we can hopefully find a path that works. And I agree there is an inherent danger in overuse of meds.

    Hope you have a good day.

  • I saw the Panorama programme a couple of weeks ago - the people they focussed on stated that they abused their painkillers in the beginning. One lady said she did this as soon as they were given to her and a gentleman said that he took more because they gave him a 'warm fuzzy feeling'! I think the point of the programme was not to be critical of the people who took them, but to show how GP's are just dishing out A class drugs as they do not know how to deal with the causes of pain.

    I've got PHN (post herpetic neuralgia) - this is basically chronic nerve pain caused by shingles. I've had this for 9yrs and for most of that time have been given 'A' class drugs, i.e. Oxynorm/Oxycontin as part of my treatment. It's been a battle not to keep increasing my dosage as my body has, without doubt, become used to the drugs.

    I am sure a couple of glasses of red wine a day instead of these pain killers would be worth a try. Let's face it, if you truly have chronic pain, then desperation will make you try anything.

    I have found acupuncture very, very effective especially when I had pains in my joints and I'd recommend it. It;s available on the NHS at the moment, so definitely worth a try. Same goes for Mindfulness - I've only just started this but have found it very helpful, and I'm such a huge sceptic!

    I would recommend you try anything which you feel will ease your pain, just remember not to mix pills and wine xx

  • Yes I have thought about it myself, I used it for relaxation once and it helped enormously but went back for another appointment and the acupuncture needles I thought were put in different places, as I got not much from them second time.

    So will make a point in asking for acupuncture to give it another go and see, but does it only work at the time the needles are in ??? anyone know. best Alex

  • When all else fails, then turn to the opiates. Because then you know they are really your only option. Then proceed with caution.

  • I also want to add further to this and that is that all "painkillers" have addictive qualities, and just giving opioids a bad name like they seem to do because of the nearness to Heroin and Morphine they are sadly an easy target and yes they can be addictive, but as I said, all drugs have the potential to be addictive whether physical or psychological, or both.

    Nobody wants to be hooked on drugs , but we have to understand that pain and living with it takes much getting used to, and the way pain act's on the brain it is no fun, and drug addiction is no fun, but as long as you read up on the meds you take, then as an adult you can decide yourself, or should I say your doctor will decide.

    But the opioids are just one of probably a few that your doctor can look at and as it is you the patient that decides how they' the drugs, controls you, or not , if you find ways to drag back control, by controlling the amounts, or just to keep them to a minimum, by using many other ways in conjunction with the pills best wishes Alex

  • It is true. You build up resistence to the effects of opiate painkillers, needing stronger and stronger ones. Long term, there comes a point where the pain you feel is withdrawal from the drug and not your actual pain. This is the point you are a legal addict.

    Opiate pain killers do not work because they are designed for acute pain and short term use. Many GP's have been irresponsible by increasing pain meds without looking at alternative methods.

    Many pain issues can be resolved by a sports physio. They are trained in injury and pain management. They also teach you how to look after yourself to prevent relapses. They should be available on prescription. This alone would save the NHS loads of money. But then the GP's would loose their "bonus" income from prescribing x amount of pain meds annually.

    Opiate pain meds for long term use is the biggest con I know of, and they get away with it, not relieving the pain, causing damage to organs, side effects, mental disturbances, behavioural changes, causing dependency. If they were another product, a car, or an appliance, the would soon be returned for not working propetly, and the manufacturer would be out of business.

    Pure poison and people happily fill themselves up with them because the GP says so, or the GP is not insightful enough to suggest other things as well with a view to reducing them. Reduction should always be the goal, not increasing them.

    I experienced them for 8 weeks during a very bad relapse. I had to take something else to prevent damage to my stomach lining. If that's not a huge warning that says no, what would be?

    I hated every minute of it, It was like I was living in a parallel universe. I got in my car to go to work, I didn't know how to drive. I slept most of the time, but I could still feel the pain, but didn't feel connected to it. I stopped them when the grill caught fire and I was sitting in the kitchen fire alarm full blast thinking how nice it was that we had a fire in the kitchen. My daughter was 11 at the time, came through and sorted it. Too dangerous.

    It is possible to manage some types of pain without painkillers (I do and have done for 14 years), buf it is not for everyone. It's hard work, requires a lot of patience, determination and putting up with pain in the early days. I am not pain free, but it's at a level I can cope with most days.

    Because I have concentrated on breaking down bad muscle action and replaced it with good muscle action, (a lot of chronic pain is the result of compensation where the muscles arevused abnormally - a tense muscle will producecpain if it is encouraged to relax into it's normal state!) my body is the strongest it has been despite having a very fragile lower back/sacrum issue.

    I don't know about being able to surf, that requires physical strength and balance. I doubt anyone could come off pain killers and do this straight away without any training. I think they may have chosen their exampkes very carefully to prove their point.

    The best I can do is off road walk for an hour with walking poles. But I need a day or 2 to recover afterwards.

    I am not against the correct use of opiate meds, in an emergency or post op, but this irresponsible way GP's dish them out like smarties has got to stop. And we as consumers have to be more selective about how we manage our pain.

  • It is not ridicule. It's my opinion from my experience and I am entitled to say it. I have 15 years experience in the NHS including 5 years in a GP surgery. I have seen the pain and painkiller problem from both sides. Neither side is pretty.

    You Dan9878, could have an intelligent conversation, discussing any of the points rather than a persoal attack. That's what this forum is for, discussion.

    By all means have opiates, you are in charge of your life and your pain. It's your body. As long as you know you've researched your condition, looked at all possible treatments, discussed every little aspect with anyone and everyone, tried less damaging solutions first, as long as you use opiates in an informed way go ahead.

    My pain varies from day to day. But it does not define me. It does not control me. I have a decent life just now. There may come a time when I may need pain killers in the future. But at least I'll know I've tried everything else first.

    I appreciate pain is personal, and no 2 people have the same pain. I appreciate the darkness this can surround you in, the isolation the lack of any proper care from a GP. The feeling that there is no getting away from it that nobody understands.

  • My mother in law told me that my pain is all in my head after seeing this programme and it's the tablets that are causing my pain. Biggest load of nonsense!! Propaganda for nhs to save money on painkillers

  • It's a very harsh view to say one doesn't need painkillers. The thing is pain will basically destroy your mind so in order to not take the pain killers you'd have to be stronger than that. There's something to be said for physical exertion vs crying into your pillow and taking pain killers. Depends on the situation.

  • Zanna, you are incorrect in saying opiate painkillers are not for long term use. Both Butrans and Tepantedol have been approved for chronic pain. In fact Butrans is stated to NOT be for acute pain. Look it up.

You may also like...