The Council for Evidence-based Psychiatry, secretariat of the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence until the end of the last parliament, wanted to provide a short update on the recent activities of the APPG.
Following the publication of the PHE Prescribed Medicines Review in September last year, the APPG worked hard to secure a commitment from the Government for some of its key recommendations, in particular a national 24 hour helpline and accompanying website, nationwide in-person withdrawal support services and increased provision for psychological therapies and social prescribing.
After the dissolution of parliament on 6 November 2019, the APPG ceased to exist. The activities of the secretariat continued however in support of a Cross Party Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, which took over the work until a new APPG can be formed.
In December we launched national guidance on withdrawal and dependency for over 80,000 psychological therapists in the UK.
On 28 November the Conservative Party issued a press release which committed the Government to a new addiction strategy which included ‘considering measures from the PHE review such as a new 24/7 support line for addiction advice on prescription medicines’.
While CEP does not agree with the use of the term ‘addiction’ in this context, this is the first time that any Government has responded positively to the proposal for a national helpline, and we will continue to apply pressure to ensure that this is followed through.
In the meantime, following Sir Oliver Letwin’s retirement from parliament, CEP is in the process of recruiting a new chair and officers for a new APPG. For this reason, if anyone has been in touch with his or her MP in the past 12 months regarding prescribed drug dependence or withdrawal it would be most useful if you could let us know via firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can approach the MP as a potential supporter.
Thank you for your help!