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H O U S E   OF   C O M M O N S

APPGITA - All Party Parliamentary Group for
Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction

House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

Prime Minister's Questions,
Jim Dobbin MP, House of Commons,
June 16, 2010

Q6. [2462] Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton) (Lab/Co-op): About 1.5 million people suffer from involuntary tranquilliser addiction as a result of medical prescribing, and it completely ruins their lives. Will the Government consider investing in cost-effective, supportive, long-term withdrawal treatment programmes to enable them to lead normal lives, come off benefits, and go back to work?

The Prime Minister (David Cameron): Let me praise the hon. Gentleman for his interest in the work that is being done. I know that he is chairman of the all-party group that deals with this extremely difficult issue. The last Government set up a review of addiction to prescription and over-the-counter medicines. We are waiting for the report to be published, and will study it carefully when it is.

Let me make two points. First, I think that there is a problem in our national health service more generally, in that we spend too much time treating the symptoms rather than necessarily dealing with the causes. We could probably reduce the level of painkillers and tranquillisers if we did more - through physiotherapy and other therapies - to deal with the problem in the first place. Secondly, all addictions need proper attention, and proper treatment and therapy, to rid people of their addictions, whatever they happen to be. I am sure that the report will mention that.

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