With prescription drug addiction in the headlines recently after the death of pop legend Prince, more stories of people affected by illnesses such as opioid and codeine addiction are emerging. Prescription drugs are commonly abused by those who simply do not understand the damage they can do.

Others will develop deadly addictions to these drugs and will be unable to stop taking them even if they want to. Experts have revealed that strong medication should only be prescribed for a short period of time while recent studies have shown that certain medications such as codeine are ineffective for the treatment of back pain, which is something they are commonly prescribed for.

Lethal Cocktail

A heartbroken mother has spoken out after the inquest into the death of her daughter from a lethal cocktail of drugs in December 2015. Natalie Gentle was a former beauty queen but developed an addiction to prescription drugs, which ultimately led to her death.

Ms Gentle was a finalist in the ‘2007 Face of Plymouth’ beauty pageant but after that, her life descended into a downward spiral of drug addiction. Her mother has now spoken out and has blasted the people who sold her the drugs as ‘animals’. Suzanna Gentle has also claimed that her daughter’s cries for help went unanswered, resulting in the fatal overdose.

Drug Addiction

Ms Gentle was struggling with a drug addiction, and when her body was found it was surrounded by a syringe, pills, and cannabis. Toxicology reports showed that the thirty-three-year-old had taken a cocktail of drugs including cocaine, codeine, and morphine. This combination of substances led to cardio-respiratory malfunction, which resulted in death.

Ms Gentle had previously been in court for charges relating to a heroin addiction, and police had repeatedly raided her home. She was last seen alive by her mother on December 16th, 2015. After that, despite repeated attempts to contact her, Ms Gentle’s mother Suzanna was unable to. When Natalie failed to make contact with her mother on December 21st, which was her birthday, police were called and after forcing entry to her home, they found her dead in the living room surrounded by evidence of an overdose.


Mrs Gentle said her daughter had been clean in the months leading up to her death, adding, “Natalie was not an animal – the drug dealers are the animals. She was begging for help from her doctor for her mental health. She had not taken drugs in months. She had taken an overdose because no one would help her. Natalie had blood clots in her legs. She was in so much pain.”

It is not uncommon for individuals to develop devastating addictions to prescription drugs such as codeine or morphine. Studies have shown that although those who misuse or abuse prescription medication are more likely to become addicted, even those who take them as prescribed over a longer period of time have an increased risk of developing a tolerance.

Signs of Addiction

Ms Gentle took a combination of drugs that led to her death, but many of the drugs she took can be dangerous by themselves. Even codeine, which is an opioid drug but less strong than other opioids such as morphine or oxycodone, carries the risk of addiction.

Those who misuse codeine are in danger of developing a codeine addiction, which tends to begin when the individual builds up a tolerance to the drug. As the body gets used to the effects of the substance, it may feel as though the drug has no effect anymore. This often happens with opiates and many users feel tempted to up their dosage or take the drug more frequently than advised. If this behaviour continues, the user is likely to become addicted without even realising. It is only when he or she tries to quit that they will experience withdrawal symptoms and find they are unable to stop taking the drug.

Codeine addiction is not uncommon here in the UK. Tens of thousands of people have become dependent on a drug they took to help with a particular illness or condition, and it can be difficult to break the cycle.

Those who have become addicted to codeine may find that they need to take more of the drug than they used to in order to get the desired effect. They may experience a variety of symptoms including mood swings fluctuating from extreme euphoria to crushing depression, decreased appetite, fatigue, constipation, muscle twitches, nausea, vomiting, itching, and dry mouth.

Behavioural signs of a codeine addiction include lying to family and friends about the amount of the drug being taken, visiting more than one doctor for more prescriptions, neglecting relationships and activities, and resorting to crime in order to obtain drugs. Sadly, those who are unable to get their hands on codeine from their doctor may resort to street drugs such as heroin to satisfy their needs.

Source: Daily Mail