« back · www.benzo.org.uk »


Oldham Chronicle
February 4, 2004

Drugs campaigner Barry Haslam was today in Brussels in a bid to get better help for tranquilliser addicts at a European level.

The Uppermill-based founder of the Beat the Benzos campaign was presenting his proposals to EU Health Commissioner David Byrne on support for addicts, and best medical practice guidelines for prescribing benzodiazepines.

He is calling on the European Commission (EC) to recommend an EU-wide action plan including strong health warnings in all packaging, inspection of doctors' prescribing practices, and 24-hour helplines.

Mr Haslam, a former addict, backs up his proposals with personal statements from other people who became addicted to the drugs, which are believed to destroy more lives than crack cocaine and heroin.

He said: "I lost 10 years of my life because of being prescribed these drugs and am still suffering from their effects. I cannot remember my children growing up and I am determined that other people should not suffer in the same way.

"Member states have failed to adequately address benzo drug issues and public health protection. Evidence suggests the scale of the problem is huge. The EC needs to take a lead in encouraging European leaders to take action."

The commission agreed to take up the idea after Oldham's Liberal Democrat Euro-MP, Chris Davies, secured the backing of the European Parliament in a call for guidelines on the use of the drugs and help for addicts.

It is thought there are more than 1.2 million people in the UK addicted to the drugs, commonly known by names like Temazepam and Librium. More than 1,800 deaths were attributed to poisoning from the drug between 1990 and 1996.

Physical dependence can start within four weeks of their use, and side-effects include anxiety, aggression, drowsiness and insomnia. Withdrawal effects can be extreme.

A Call for EU Guidelines on the Prescribing of Benzodiazepines, Barry Haslam, February, 2004.

Media Archive · Beat The Benzos Campaign

« back · top · www.benzo.org.uk »