Over 400,000 Danes each year are prescribed powerful morphine-based drugs. Some are expressing concern that Sundhedsstyrelsen, the board of heath, doesn’t seem to be addressing what some see as abuse.
In 2013, 415,000 Danes were prescribed at least one prescription for strong painkillers – opioid-based drugs containing morphine or morphine-like substances – by their general practitioner.
This amounts to a 43 percent increase since 2000, according to figures from the Statens Serum Institut.
Reports reveal that Denmark is in third to fourth place in the world when it comes to total consumption of strong painkillers.
“These are scary numbers and a reflection of a problem that we have for too long done too little to reduce,” chief physician Gitte Handberg from the pain centre at Odense University Hospital, told Politiken.
“Food for thought”
When informed of the high number of painkiller prescriptions being written, Sundhedsstyrelsen sector head Anette Lykke Petri said in a statement that 400,000 Danes being treated with a morphine drugs was something to think about.
“If Denmark is very high compared to other countries, it is obviously food for thought,” Petri told Politiken.