Prescriptions of strong painkillers in England has doubled over the past 15 years increasing fears of addiction.

One in Twenty people were prescribed opioid painkillers, such as codeine and tramadol, in 2015 – twice the amount that was handed out in 2000.

As well as more pills, prescriptions also increased significantly as patients were prescribed it for longer.

While the average course of addictive drugs – termed dependency forming medicines – was 24 days in 2000, prescription lengths peaked at 102 days in 2014.

Neil Smith, of the National Centre for Social Research, told the BBC, “This highlights that a balance needs to be struck between avoiding prescribing that might lead to dependence or other harms and ensuring access to medicines to relieve suffering and treat disorders.”

GPs warned patients not to stop using the medicine without talking to their doctor first.