Barry takes centre stage for world Benzo Day launch

Date published: 25 January 2016

A PASSIONATE Oldhamer campaigning against the long-term prescribing of benzodiazapines has taken his fight to the world stage by helping create an international awareness day.

Barry Haslam, former chairman of Oldham Tranx, has helped to launch World Benzo Day on July 11, a campaign designed to highlight the problems facing patients addicted to prescription drugs.

Barry suffered years of memory loss and a change of personality when addicted to benzodiazapines prescribed for depression. After finding the strength to stop taking them and suffering withdrawal almost 30 years ago, he has campaigned tirelessly against the long-term prescription of addictive drugs.

Barry, from Uppermill said: “I have been very fortunate and proud to work with Oldham Primary Care Trust and Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, who have funded a benzodiazepine withdrawal service since 2005. Unfortunately, this is only one of a handful of such services in the UK.

“World Benzo Day aims to highlight the plight of all patients worldwide who have become prescribed drug dependent addicts through no fault of their own, who are denied right of access to dedicated withdrawal clinics and after care, who are left to struggle off these drugs without support.”

Barry has joined with New Zealander Wayne Douglas to launch the day after they shared their stories online. The pair have received messages of support for the awareness day from across the UK and around the world.