APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence welcomes announcement of a review into prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (for whom CEP provides the secretariat) welcomes Public Health England’s announcement today of an evidence review into prescribed drugs that may cause dependence and withdrawal.

Prescribed drug dependence is a growing problem, with increasing numbers of prescriptions for addictive, psychoactive drugs being given to adults and children.  These include benzodiazepines, antidepressants, z-drugs, gaba-ergic drugs (such as gabapentin) and opioid painkillers. A study published by NatCen in 2017 on dependence forming medications showed the rates of prescribing had increased by 50% from 2000 to 2015, with over 9% of the population taking either a benzodiazepine, z-drug, gaba-ergic drug, or opioid.[1]

There is clear evidence that long term use of these drugs can lead to worse outcomes, including persistent withdrawal effects which often lead to disability.  Unlike illicit drugs and alcohol, there are hardly any publicly funded services available for sufferers.

In 2016 the APPG launched a campaign for a national 24 hour helpline to support patients affected by prescribed drug dependence, which resulted in a declaration of support for such a helpline signed by the BMA, the Royal College of Psychiatrists, the Royal College of GPs and the Royal College of Physicians, among others.

Following this campaign, the APPG is pleased that Public Health England now agrees that prescribed drug dependence is a serious public health issue which needs to be addressed.

Paul Flynn MP, chair of the APPG, said: ‘Prescribed drug dependence can have devastating consequences for patients, leading to years of unnecessary suffering and disability following withdrawal from medication which has simply been taken directed by a doctor.  The APPG welcomes the proposed evidence review of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal by Public Health England as a first step towards the commissioning of services, including a national helpline, to support patients affected by this urgent public health issue.’

[1] http://natcen.ac.uk/our-research/research/prescribing-patterns-in-dependence-forming-medicines-2000-2015/

5 Responses to APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence welcomes announcement of a review into prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal

  1. Susan Fitzgerald 24/01/2018 at 12:36 am #

    This is fantastic. I have been through terrible suffering with antidepressants. The original problem that had me on them in the first place pales in comparison to what these drugs have put me through. Please see to it that this enquiry and it’s results are shared loud and clear with the Australian government and the Australian people.

  2. Thomas Leonard 24/01/2018 at 5:32 am #

    James Carter and I have been involved in a campaign in Scotland since 2012 regarding the harmful side effects of toxic psych meds, and a mass of information is collated on our websites and my blog. While I am a psychiatric survivor I am also a retired Bayesian statistician. Given the information available to me, I subjectively estimate that at least 20% of our population have experienced a harmful side effect from a toxic psych med. Moreover, if a person keeps taking a toxic psych med indefinitely, the person will be very likely to eventually experience a debilitating side effect, I refer to anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, mood stabilisers, and foul medications such as ritaiin and adderall which are used to destroy the iives of our young and elderly alike, I say this as a founding fellow of the International Society for Bayesian Analysis and a recently published author, who stopped taking toxic psych meds in Ooctober 2011, following a total of 16 years on them (e.g imaprimine, lithium, klonopin, Epilim, Haleperidol and amisulphide). The side and withdrawal effects have been devastating to my physical health but my cognition and productivity is now better than ever as I approach the age of 70

  3. Jan Waterton 24/01/2018 at 2:26 pm #

    At last. Let’s hope that the people suffering now, get the 24 hour helpline that I so desperately needed 7 years ago, when I was withdrawing from Clonazepam.

  4. Deb Drinkwater 24/01/2018 at 3:52 pm #

    Its been a long time coming .I hope there is not too much of a dekay before services are put in place to support people .

  5. julianna kenny 25/01/2018 at 3:11 pm #

    Why are anti psychotic medications not listed?

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