Tramadol – The Prescription Painkiller “Claiming More Lives Than Any Other Drug”

Tramadol “Claims More Lives Than Any Other Drug”


According to Northern Ireland’s top pathologist, Professor Jack Crane, the powerful prescription painkiller Tramadol is causing more deaths than Class A drugs such as heroin and cocaine. The professors statement is based on the average number of deaths per population who take the drug.

Step by Step Recovery agree that the controversial controlled medication that landed TV star Ant McPartlin in drug rehab twice is highly addictive. It is also extremely dangerous when mixed with other drugs, especially opiates, sedatives or alcohol.

Last year in 2017, 185 deaths were linked to Tramadol in England and Wales and 33 deaths were recorded for Northern Ireland. In 2014 the popular painkiller drug was reclassified as a Class C controlled drug, making it illegal to take or possess without prescription.

Anti-Drug Campaigners Say Tramadols Black Market is Booming

Sadly, since being reclassified more individuals are turning to the black market to buy illicit Tramadol. As with many prescription drugs that have become controlled, they can easily be purchased from the internet and from street dealers. Anti-drug campaigns report that the Tramadol black market is booming. Many that abuse these types of drugs also obtain them from family and friends who have them on prescription.

Professor Jack Crane spoke to UTV news who televised a report on the highly addictive and controversial painkiller. In the report there are calls for Tramadol to be upgraded to a Class A drug so that there are tougher penalties for black market dealers.


Among the 33 deaths reported in Northern Ireland last year, the youngest was a 16 year old girl and the oldest a pensioner in his 70’s. This shows that a broad spectrum of individuals are accessing the drug.

As well as being a powerful painkiller for mild to moderate pain relief, Tramadol also has euphoric effects that are likened to alcohol intoxication. It can make the individual feel drowsy, relaxed, warm and euphoric. It is these effects that those who abuse Tramadol seek.

The Risks Associated With Tramadol Abuse

Tramadol hydrochloride can be used safely and effectively when a doctors prescription is followed. However it is worth noting that even a short term course of this medication can lead to addiction. It is therefore recommended that if you have ever previously suffered a substance misuse problem, including a problem with alcohol, that you avoid taking it.

Tramadol is a synthetic narcotic drug that mimics the effects of opiates and has powerful pain relieving properties. As a synthetic drug it has properties that can make it more complex and difficult to detox from.

Tramadol becomes extremely dangerous when it is mixed with alcohol or other drugs. This can lead to coma and even death.

The deaths that are linked to Tramadol occur when the drug is abused, usually when it is mixed with alcohol, another prescription drug or illicit drug.

Professor Crane said of Tramadol: “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.”

This is a common trap that individuals who become addicted to prescription drugs fall into. The fact that it is prescribed gives justification for taking it and the assumption that an addiction cannot occur.

Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

Tramadol addiction can develop even when a prescription is followed and taken for a genuine reason. Ant McPartlin was prescribed Tramadol for pain relief following an operation on his knee. He became addicted and started to mix alcohol with the medication which led to his rehab admissions.

Happily, Ant has found recovery from his tramadol and alcohol addiction thanks to rehab

addiction is considered the best treatment option if this is something you can afford. Step by Step Recovery provide a comprehensive medical detox for Tramadol and a bespoke rehabilitation programme at our residential drug rehab in Southend-on-Sea. We treat all manner of prescription drug addictions and understand that it can happen as a consequence of taking highly addictive pain relief.

When stopping Tramadol it is vital that you seek professional help. Tramadol withdrawal is very unpleasant and can result in dangerous withdrawal symptoms including seizures. If you are not in a position to afford Tramadol rehab we suggest that you see your doctor. Or seek out a local drug and alcohol charity team for help and support. Accessing the correct professional support for a Tramadol dependence or addiction can be the difference between life and death.

For more information on our and bespoke drug rehab programmes, please call us direct on 0800 170 1222, email us or complete our contact form today.

Freedom from Tramadol is possible even if you have a chronic pain condition. Let us help you to find recovery through our professional addiction treatment services.

Sources and references

Professionals therapist

A page revised the 6 of July of 2021, by Danielle Byatt, a Level 4 addictions counselling, Level 5 in Leadership & Management, BA applied social work. and Treatment Director at Step by Step Recovery.