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Hidden dangers of prescribed drugs

Reporter: Lucy Kenderdine
Date online: 10 July 2017

A DEDICATED campaigner over prescribed drug dependency has urged residents to back an international effort to raise awareness of the long-term impact of benzodiazepines.

World Benzodiazepines Awareness Day is now recognised across the globe after it was launched last year by former chairman of Oldham Tranx Barry Haslam.

The 2017 campaign, which will be marked tomorrow, will highlight the problems facing patients who are affected by the prescription drugs.

Barry, from Uppermill, said: "It is important to celebrate this day because of the huge world numbers of patients, who have been prescribed these dependence-forming set of drugs as instructed by their doctors, and to bring awareness of their dangers if prescribed long term. Long-term use can lead to an increased risk of lung cancer, Alzheimer's disease and brain damage.

"Dependence to benzodiazepines has been constantly swept under the carpet for decades by the Government.

"However, matters might just be changing. On June 22, the British Medical Association met with Government health officials in London to finally discuss the issue of prescribed drug dependency."

Campaigner Barry has drawn on his own experience which included a 10-year dependency on benzodiazepines and anti-depressants.

He added: "I was also dependent on prescribed opiate painkillers for the chronic headaches brought on by the huge amount of prescribed benzodiazepines I was taking at the time."

Barry will be wearing his benzodiazepines campaign T-shirt on July 11 to promote awareness in Uppermill.


Under the 1988 Committee on Safety of Medicines Guidelines, benzodiazepines are only meant to be prescribed for two to four weeks. Professor Malcolm Lader, says benzodiazepines are harder to withdraw from than the Class A drug heroin.

Since 2004, Oldham has been home to one of the limited number of NHS withdrawal centres dedicated to these drugs ­- One Recovery ­- which is run by Addiction Dependency Solutions.

Barry said: "This scandal is national and it needs a national response by the Department of Health and Public Health England."


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