Remedy plea on prescribed drug problem

Reporter: Marina Berry
Date published: 30 October 2013

PRIME Minister David Cameron’s admission to Parliament that addiction to prescribed drugs was “a terrible affliction” has been heralded a major success by a local campaigner.

Oldham’s Barry Haslam has long fought for the issue to be recognised nationally and welcomed Mr Cameron’s statement. He is now pressing new Public Health Minister Jane Ellison to act on an issue he calls a “national scandal”.

In a letter to Ms Ellison, Mr Haslam said: “For decades we have been classed as misusers by those who ducked their responsibilities and no-one was held accountable.

“Finally the truth has been told by the Prime Minister and urgent action needs to be taken to remedy years of inaction and enforced addiction by prescribers of these highly-addictive drugs.

“We did not ask to be made addicts and I sincerely pray you have the compassion and empathy to clear up this public health mess once and for all.”

Mr Haslam, who suffers health problems caused by 10 years of tranquilliser addiction is cared for by his wife, Susan.

He has been a passionate campaigner on the issue for almost 30 years, and is often asked by national bodies and the Government to speak on the problems caused by long-term addiction. He is now involved in a five-year research project with Manchester University.

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