A pill-popping workplace culture where colleagues take codeine as hangover cures and at break times is leading to an increased demand for addiction treatment and a need for education, according to health professionals.
The availability of benzodiazepines and opiates online is also a growing problem where people are buying tablets with no idea how weak or strong the counterfeit products are, leading to accidental overdoses.
Rising stress levels are believed to be behind some of the growing use in tablet-taking, with some people consuming up to 72 tablets in a day.
The news comes as the Health Research Board (HRB) released figures that show benzodiazepine and opiate use is being reported by more women than men seeking treatment for alcohol addiction problems.
Dr Colin O'Gara, a consultant psychiatrist working with the addiction services at St John of God Hospital in Dublin, said the use of the mild tranquillisers known as benzos, and opiates such as codeine, was a "massive concern".
"It hasn't reached epidemic levels here yet but we have had an issue with codeine use.
Source: Conor Feehan, Irish Independent, 21st March 2019