Tramadol addict backs upgrade to Class A



A young man addicted to tramadol since he was 14 has spoken to UTV about how the prescription painkiller, which he now buys illegally online for just 30p a pill, has taken over his life.
The 22-year-old revealed the shocking lengths he would go to in order to get his hands on the drug – from stealing from his mum as a teenager, to tricking doctors, and buying illegally from dealers.
Robert* takes fistfuls of the tablets in a desperate bid to get the same sort of high as he would from morphine or heroin. His tolerance is now so high that it takes more and more pills to have an effect.
He has been in an out of prison, having robbed pharmacies for prescription drugs and committed serious violence.
He frankly admits that he is a danger to the public.
Credit: UTV
But Robert wants to turn his life around and that is why he is speaking out and why he would back calls to upgrade tramadol to a Class A drug – to stop people just like him.
“I want to change my life and just show people out there it’s not worth it,” he told UTV.
“Do not get into that circle of crime, tablets, jail … crime, tablets, death.”
Describing the pressures of worrying about having no food because he has spent everything he has on tramadol, he added: “It takes over everything.
“Everything else in my life is blocked out. Tramadol comes first.”
As well as ruining his own life, the young man knows he has also hurt others through his actions.
Asked what he would say to them, he said simply: “I’m really, really sorry.”
Number of tramadol prescriptions in NI in the last year. 
Earlier this month, UTV revealed that tramadol is claiming more lives in Northern Ireland than any other drug – including heroin and cocaine.
Pathologist Professor Jack Crane called for the reclassification of the drug to crack down on the black market trade.
And earlier this week, Tom Black - a senior doctor with more than 20 years’ experience and chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, told UTV he shares Professor Crane’s concerns.
* Name change to protect identity
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