n Mental Health Matters - Over the counter, under the radar : opioid analgesic abuse in South Africa




While much attention is focused on the prevalence of alcohol, cannabis and other illicit drug use in South Africa, the non-medical use (NMU) of over the counter (OTC) and prescription medications (PRE) remains a blind-spot for researchers and clinicians alike.

Often regarded as relatively safe in comparison to illicit drugs both OTC and PRE medications are the focus of increasing abuse worldwide, and thus appear to have dropped off the radar screens of many of the healthcare professionals who may unwittingly be faced with it on an almost daily basis.
Opioid dependence has been flagged as a substantial contributor to the global burden of disease, with the authors of that article pointing to the increased incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa.


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