Live chat: Kiwis and prescription drugs

02:59, Apr 15 2014

New Zealanders are popping prescription pills with alarming regularity, and a painkiller known as "hillbilly heroin" is being handed out too easily.

Results from this year's Global Drug Survey, conducted in partnership with Fairfax Media, found that, of the 5731 New Zealand respondents, two-thirds had used prescription anti-pain or anti-anxiety drugs in the past year.

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The opioid oxycodone, known in the United States as "hillbilly heroin", is one of the most prescribed medicines for chronic severe pain in New Zealand.

It is also highly addictive. In the US, more people die each year from prescribed opioid overdoses than from heroin and cocaine combined.

The National Association of Opioid Treatment Providers co-chairman Jeremy McMinn believes the emergence of drugs such as those identified in the survey is a huge problem.

He joins us today to discuss the survey's findings and answer your questions.

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