The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry welcomes the publication of the analysis report by the BMA’s Board of Science, titled ‘Prescribed drugs associated with dependence and withdrawal – building a consensus for action’, which can be viewed here.
The report analyses evidence submissions from a variety of stakeholders, including CEP, patient groups and medical bodies such as the Royal College of General Practitioners and the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
CEP agrees with opinion of the Board of Science that ‘too little is known about prescribing patterns, the levels of dependence and withdrawal, and the level of harm that is being caused. There is also too little research about the long-term effects of these drugs.’
CEP is pleased to note there is consensus among stakeholders regarding the inadequate current provision of specialised support services, as well the need for improved doctor training and more funding for non-pharmacological treatments.
In addition, CEP agrees with the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ view (expressed in the report) that traditional addiction services are not appropriate for patients dependent on prescribed drugs, and supports its call for a review of the evidence and clinical guidelines in this area, including optimal methods of withdrawal.
We hope that the BMA will use this consensus as the starting point for a series of initiatives to tackle this issue. As a priority, this must include the provision of appropriate support services for patients who have become dependent upon prescribed drugs, and we support the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence in their call for a national telephone helpline.