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Star campaigner: Barry Haslam
Mind in Action
Star Campaigner Section
by Sue Brown
Barry Haslam has been campaigning for the rights of people who are addicted to benzodiazepine tranquillisers for many years. Barry went on tranquillisers following a breakdown after taking his accountancy exams and was on them for ten years. He experienced severe side effects, and took 15 months to come off them, going through major withdrawal symptoms. To this day he has to take painkillers, and has no memory of his children growing up.
For a long time he was angry about his experiences, but now he says he's focused his anger on helping other people in the same position. And he seems to be making progress. Barry is involved in the Oldham Tranx Group. Just after Labour were elected they invited local MP Phil Woolas to a meeting. Since then, Phil has been helping to set up meetings with Select Committees and Ministers. Barry has also been making links with local hospitals and drug addiction agencies, who say coming off benzos can be harder than coming off heroin.
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