MP joins call for inquiry on prescriptions

Reporter: Rosalyn Roden
Date published: 11 April 2017

A CAMPAIGNER has called for an inquiry into prescribed drug dependence as an MP takes up the cause.

Debbie Abrahams, who represents Oldham East and Saddleworth, has lobbied the Health Select Committee (HSC) calling for an inquiry into the issue.

Oldhamer Barry Haslam has campaigned for years on the danger of over-prescribing, and long-term use of, benzodiazepines.

The drugs, for sleeping and anxiety problems, have been marketed in England for more than half a century.

Mrs Abrahams said: "While these drugs may help in the short term, there is growing evidence that long-term use leads to worse outcomes.

"Oldham is lucky to be home to committed campaigners like Barry. As a result of their efforts, and in collaboration with our Director of Public Health, since 2005, Oldham has one of a handful of dedicated withdrawal facilities in this country.

"This service sets the standard for prescribed drug dependence and I believe it should be replicated nationwide."

Mr Haslam is a former chair of Oldham Tranx and was dependent on benzodiazepines for 10 years after they were prescribed alongside anti-depressants.

He said: "I want the truth to emerge and public scrutiny of the government's massive cover-up on this medical disaster. These drugs should be a means of last resort and not first."

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