- Video report by ITV News Anglia's Claire McGlasson
A lot of people take painkillers to ease aches and pains, but a woman from Milton Keynes has told ITV Anglia how she became so addicted to them that she was taking upto 30 tablets a day.
Leni White-Knight from Milton Keynes, was eventually referred to a centre for heroin addicts and prescribed a substitute drug to help her withdraw from codeine.
Her addiction was to a common medicine she bought over the counter. Leni was a professional violinist.
She started taking extra strength codeine to treat her chronic shoulder pain.
Codeine is an opiate, from the same family of drugs as heroin.
Short-term it can block pain signals but within days the body can become dependent.
Such a high dose could have easily killed her if Leni hadn't built up such a tolerance to the drug over 15 years.
By law, pharmacies are only allowed to sell one box of extra strength codeine at a time
But that doesn't stop addicts visiting multiple shops
In 2017/18 the UK spent nearly 570 million pounds on over the counter painkillers, consuming nearly 16 per cent of the world's share of codeine.
Leni was eventually referred to a centre for heroin addicts and prescribed a substitute drug to help her withdraw from codeine
After 15 years of addiction, Leni is no longer dependent on codeine. She wants to warn other people of the dangers.
Click below to watch Becky Jago's interview with Harry Shapiro from the charity DrugWise