Opioids are a type of medicine legally available in France but can cause serious physical dependence. A documentary by Caroline Coldefy, visible on M6, launches the alert on these legal drugs which can destroy the lives of patients.
Sunday November 21, 2021, M6 will broadcast a documentary Zone interdite directed by Caroline Coldefy. Entitled “Drugs, alcohol: those drugs that destroy families”, he wishes to warn about the dangers of a specific type of medication: opioid painkillers. According to the ANSM (National Medicines Safety Agency), 11 million French people. have at least one prescription for opioid analgesics each year. The most consumed of them? Tramadol.
Between 2006 and 2017, the prescription of strong opioids (such as Fentanyl, Oxicodone, etc.) increased by 150%. And the number of hospitalizations linked to this type of drug almost tripled between 2000 and 2017. Of the 13 million consumers of opioid painkillers in France, it is estimated that 17% will become dependent.
Why make this documentary today? Asked by aufeminin, Caroline Coldefy explains that she had a shock in 2017 when she discovered the story of Pauline Cebo, who died of an overdose of codeine. His mother then fought to publicize the dangers of this drug and to change the regulations. Caroline Coldefy also noted that many of her relatives had been treated with drugs derived from opioids. If the phenomenon is less widespread in France than United States, where the situation is dramatic, there remains a public health problem to be questioned. In the documentary, we discover in particular the story of Nadine, 60, who became addicted to morphine and who testifies for aufeminin.
From an accident of life to the spiral of drugs
In 2013, Nadine was the victim of a violent car accident, which affected her in particular in the leg. She underwent an operation, but the pain persisted for six months afterwards. The sexagenarian goes so far as to faint at work. She then asks her general practitioner to do something against these persistent and very disabling pains. The doctor therefore prescribed morphine for him, “without real warning”, she says.
The drug works for a while, then the pain returns. Nadine will gradually increase the doses against this disease that does not stop. She underwent several operations to treat her leg problems. However, the pain is still there … In 2017, 4 years after her accident, Nadine realizes that her situation is not normal: “Despite the various operations that must have resolved my pathology, I continued to have pain and to have to take ever larger doses of morphine, until I had patches that delivered me continuous morphine”, she says. She feels amorphous, has difficulty continuing her social and professional life … “There were times when I almost felt sick because I took too much, she remembers, or else I wanted to sleep and I was limp. There were also times when I was good, because it takes away all anxiety, it’s soothing, we’re in the thick of it “. But the consequences are there, terrible: “I lost my job, I was too tired to see people, I called my husband in tears when he was working because I was in pain, he did not dare to leave on the move”.
“I was rejected, I felt misunderstood”
Getting out of opioid addiction
Aware of a form of dependence, she consults many doctors, who seem helpless: the only solution offered is always to increase the doses to make her pain disappear. “I remember crying to ask to be hospitalized but I was rejected, I felt misunderstood”, she recalls. In 2020, she ends up meeting a young doctor who is distraught by the doses she is taking. He then directs her to a structure specializing in the treatment of chronic pain, an anti-pain center. There, she is explained that she has entered a vicious circle: her dependent body sends pain signals on its own to get her dose of morphine. The center offers him a treatment protocol with several hospitalizations, to then start a weaning process with methadone.
Today, after seven years of medical wandering and one year of treatment, Nadine will have to wean herself again, this time, from methadone, to finally stop taking any medication. “Fortunately, I am of a reasonable nature and that I continued to look for solutions”, says the sixty-year-old, who takes a critical look at her medical career. “Thanks to the pain relief center, I got out of it and I don’t understand why the doctors didn’t tell me about it”, she wonders.
Since 2017, regulations have been stricter on this type of medication: prescriptions are made for a limited period, within the framework of secure prescriptions, written by hand by the medical profession and the treatment is dispensed by identified pharmacies. “Today I have resumed my life, I play sports, volunteer work, artistic activities, I have found all my intellectual faculties”, explains Nadine, who wishes to alert with her testimony on the abuses in which such treatment can lead. Especially since the most addicted patients can still get opioids on the internet.
Missions: Mathilde is an expert in subjects related to women’s rights and health. Addicted to Instagram and Twitter, never stingy with a good …