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H O U S E   O F   C O M M O N S

APPGITA - All Party Parliamentary Group for
Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Question by Jim Dobbin MP,
Prime Minister's Questions,
House of Commons,
October 23, 2013

Jim Dobbin MP (Heywood and Middleton): A total of 1.5 million people in the UK are addicted to the benzodiazepines diazepam and "Z drugs". I know of one individual who has been on those products for more than 45 years - a total life ruined. They are not drug misusers; they are victims of the system of repeat prescriptions. Will the Prime Minister advise the Department of Health to give some guidance to the clinical commissioning groups to introduce withdrawal programmes in line with the advice from Professor Heather Ashton of Newcastle university, who is the expert in this field, to give these people back their lives?

The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon David Cameron MP: First, I pay tribute to the hon. Gentleman, who has campaigned strongly on this issue over many years. I join him in paying tribute to Professor Ashton, whom I know has considerable expertise in this area. He is right to say that this is a terrible affliction; these people are not drug addicts but they have become hooked on repeat prescriptions of tranquillisers. The Minister for public health is very happy to discuss this issue with him and, as he says, make sure that the relevant guidance can be issued.

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