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April 2010

Letter from Barry Haslam to Phil Woolas, April 27, 2010

Mr. Phil Woolas
11 Church Lane

April 27, 2010

Re: Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction

Dear Phil,

Thank you for your letter of the 20th April 2010. The two reviews you mention (Dept. of Health and Equality and Human Rights Commission) are only significant if the results are positive, in our favour, and are acted upon.

"Progress" is in the eyes of the beholder. Try telling that to the tens of thousands of those killed, injured and left disabled by these neurotoxic drugs of addiction.

You say that you "share my frustration at the slowness of progress". You cannot know. You have not walked in my shoes for the past 34 years.

It is not just the medical profession that has been recalcitrant. The Dept. of Health, MCA, MHRA and the ABPI are equally to blame for this human fiasco.

I believe that no political party / government has had the willpower or courage to stand up and be counted on this issue. Big vested interests have triumphed over humanity and social justice.

Whichever party / parties are asked to form the next government by Her Majesty - one of their prime objectives should be to clear up this unholy mess, and quickly.

Involuntary tranquilliser addiction has been a work-in-progress for the last 50 years.

Time it was sorted - for good!



cc. Jim Dobbin
Mick Behan
Prof. C. H. Ashton
Ray Nimmo - benzo.org.uk
Christine Downes-Grainger
Janice Barker - Oldham Evening Chronicle

Letter from Phil Woolas to Barry Haslam April 20, 2010

20th April 2010

Dear Barry

Thank you for your letter of 8th April 2010 regarding our campaign against Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction.

I am pleased that the two reviews are taking place. This represents significant movement tor our campaign although I share your frustration at the slowness of progress.

As you know, I believe the fundamental problem is that of recalcitrance in the profession. The fact is that the levels of over-subscription and the lack of support services are the result of a cultural indifference to sufferers. It is the duty of Government, in my view, to change this culture and I agree that so far we have not been able to do so. However, we have made progress and I am proud of my role in that.

With best wishes

Phil Woolas
Oldham East & Saddleworth

Letter from Barry Haslam to Phil Woolas, April 20, 2010

Mr Phil Woolas
11 Church Lane

April 20, 2010

Re: The Shameful 13 Years of Labour Government


Could I please have a full and open written reply to my letter of 8 April 2010?

I am:

But more importantly, I ask on behalf of the tens of thousands of UK citizens who have died, suffered and been left disabled by involuntary tranquilliser addiction.

They deserve a full explanation and apology (as do their families), as to why the Labour Party deserted them in their hour of need. The continuation of this "national scandal" has to be addressed and sorted out.



cc Jim Dobbin
Mick Behan
Professor C. H. Ashton
Ray Nimmo - benzo.org.uk
Christine Downes-Grainger
Janice Barker - Oldham Evening Chronicle

Letter from Barry Haslam to Phil Woolas, April 8, 2010

April 8, 2010

Dear Phil,

Re: The Shameful 13 Years of Labour Government

The biggest threat to this country's health and economy is that of iatrogenic or involuntary addiction to benzodiazepine tranquillisers, Z-drugs and SSRI anti-depressants.

For 13 years Labour have fudged, ignored and swept the issue under the carpet. Too frightened of the regulatory authorities, the pharmaceutical industry and medical profession Labour backed off, tail between its legs and deliberately abandoned and manifestly discriminated against the innocent victims of NHS negligence. Labour failed to provide treatment centres, rehab units, support groups and residential centres for the hapless victims of these drugs. They also failed to address the issues of benefits and human rights. One MP is exempt from the above criticism - namely Jim Dobbin MP.

Jim Dobbin's latest letter to Gillian Merron at the Dept. of Health (April 6, 2010) is enclosed herewith. The last paragraph is "spot on" and I quote:

"The government's drug policy costs £1.5 billion pa and some 200,000 heroin misusers are provided with specialist treatment by the National Treatment Agency at enormous expense. It is discriminatory to refuse to provide involuntary tranquilliser addicts with appropriate medical treatment for their illness, an illness that has been created by the health service."

On June 4, 2009, I texted you and said that I would be devastated if the Labour Party had not tackled the benzo issue while in office. Your reply, I'm sure you recall, was as follows:

"And I would be ashamed. Phil"

Nothing has changed Phil! So are you still ashamed of this Labour scandal?

Finally, I quote from my late colleague Mr Colin Downes-Grainger's book entitled "Prescription for Injury". His summing up (p 219) is very apt and important:

"The Department of Health has no idea how many have been affected by tranquillisers, which is par for the course in medicine, and it does not seem to want to know. But many thousands have told their stories in the media and on the internet. The thousands who died have sadly been unable to tell their stories. Some people who died or who were injured did not themselves take tranquillisers—they were killed or injured in accidents by those who had. The benzodiazepine story is most notable for the number of people it affected because of the huge numbers of people to whom tranquillisers were prescribed. It is a complete description of a medical system which out-sources drug production to private enterprise and then because it has done so, maintains a closed system of regulation which it is almost impossible to penetrate. Establishment medicine and politicians defend what happens to patients in order to defend the system they have jointly created. This is the reason why they show no desire to learn, and continue to learn nothing from the chequered history of drugs.

The tranquilliser story shows clearly what the UK government would not wish included in its description of ‘our way of life’. Including what benzodiazepines have done to patients for nearly fifty years might prompt the question, "Is the first duty of the state really the protection of its citizens?" If it is then government has failed to do it. The suspicion has to be that the maintenance of a failing but profitable system is politically more desirable than the introduction of an efficient protective healthcare agenda. The only protections that patients have against drug disasters are the enlightenment of doctors, strictly honest science and effective regulation. All of these health protections have failed in the past, particularly with psychotropic drugs and the true enormity of these failings is illustrated beyond measure by benzodiazepines."

I await your written reply as my former and now prospective MP.


Barry Haslam


APPGITA · Beat The Benzos Campaign

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