Prescription painkiller tramadol, taken by thousands of people every day, is claiming more lives than any other drug – including heroin and cocaine – according to Northern Ireland’s top pathologist.
The painkiller doesn’t cause harm if taken correctly, but the danger rises when users mix it with other drugs or alcohol. Last year, 33 deaths in Northern Ireland were linked to tramadol.
Among them were a 16-year-old girl and a pensioner in his 70s.
“I don’t think that people realise how potentially risky taking tramadol is.
I think it’s because it’s a prescription drug – people assume it’s safe.”
– PROFESSOR JACK CRANE, STATE PATHOLOGIST FOR NI
The opiate-based drug used to treat moderate or severe pain should only be available on prescription – it was reclassified in 2014 making it an illegal Class C drug without prescription.
But anti-drug campaigners say more and more people are turning to the black market.
Professor Jack Crane has spoken out to say he fears more people will die unless urgent action is taken and he is calling for a crackdown on the illegal market.
He wants tramadol to be upgraded again, this time to Class A.
Professor Crane is now set to meet Northern Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer later this month to push for change.
Please share this so very important news with everyone else as it may possibly save a life. let us and others know your experiences with this drug and drop us a comment here or on our Facebook page. We always love to hear from you.
- Understand your alternatives to buying individual health insurance
The cheapest purchase you’ll ever make is the one you don’t make. It’s entirely possible that you don’t have to buy individual health insurance at all. Depending on which state you live in and what your income is, you might qualify for Medicaid. You can contact your nearest Medicaid office, or go to Healthcare.gov to determine if you’re eligible (see step three below for the latter route).
If you have children, there are a couple of avenues to explore. First, many states have expanded coverage for children through the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). To find out if your kids qualify for CHIP, go to the Medicaid CHIP website and answer the questions under “Can I Get It?”.
Second, check to see if your children might be eligible under their other parent’s coverage. Even if you’re divorced, if your former spouse has employer-provided health insurance, your children could possibly be included under their coverage.
- Know what you need and can afford
Assuming that step one doesn’t apply to you, the most important step in finding cheap health insurance is to determine exactly what you need in terms of coverage and what you can afford. If you buy more coverage than you need, you’ll spend more than you need to. And as to knowing what you can afford, you can’t spend money that you don’t have.
Under the Affordable Care Act, every individual health insurance plan must cover 10 essential health benefits. These benefits are:
- Outpatient care (doesn’t require admission to a hospital)
- Emergency room visits
- Inpatient care in a hospital
- Care before and after your baby is born
- Mental health and substance use disorder services
- Prescription drugs
- Services/devices to help you recover from an injury or deal with a disability or chronic condition (including physical and occupational therapy)
- Lab tests
- Preventive services
- Dental care and vision care for kids
While that might seem like a pretty comprehensive list, different health insurers can vary on exactly how they cover these benefits. Think through any specific needs you might have.
- Go to Healthcare.gov
Perhaps the easiest step of all is to go to the Healthcare.gov websiteand complete an application. It’s easy, that is, if you’re doing so during an open enrollment period (the next one starts on Nov. 1) or if you have a qualifying life change. These life changes include getting married, having a baby, or losing other coverage. The website, by the way, will help you find out if you have had a life change that qualifies.