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Lancashire Evening Telegraph
July 25, 2003

Thousands of East Lancashire residents with experience of addiction to prescription drugs are sought for a legal battle to stop others getting hooked.

Around 1.2 million people in Britain are long-term addicts of anxiety-suppressing benzodiazepines such as Valium, temazepam, Librium and Ativan, said by some experts to be more dangerous and addictive than heroin.

Working with Beat the Benzos, a charity dedicated to highlighting the plight of those who have suffered from the effects of addiction to the drugs, East Lancashire Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies has helped secure the backing of the European Parliament for action to be taken.

Now, the European Commission has agreed to draft guidelines for an EU-wide approach to the problem, and is asking for help from those with first-hand experience.

The aim is to produce best-practice recommendations on treatment and support for patients suffering from withdrawal symptoms or with permanent impairment.

Mr Davies said: "At last recognition is being paid to the thousands of silent addicts in this country and across Europe. Their shared experiences will be vital when compiling these guidelines."

Beat The Benzos' Barry Haslam is collating addict responses for the European Commission.

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