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Oldham Chronicle
February 9, 2004
by Janice Barker

Barry Haslam

Uppermill drugs campaigner Barrie Haslam is back from a top-level meeting in Brussels and appears on Sky TV tomorrow.

Mr Haslam met the EU health Commissioner David Byrne and his departmental director, John Bell, along with Chris Davies, Euro-MP for Oldham.

Now Sky has asked Mr Haslam and Mr Davies to take part in a discussion programme about the problems of benzodiazepines and addiction to legally-prescribed drugs.

The 10.30am debate follows Mr Haslams's visit to the European Parliament, when he presented proposals on support for addicts and best medical practice.

He called on Mr Byrne to tighten up on tranquilliser use and treatment and for inspection of prescribing practices across Europe.

Mr Haslam also had a three-hour meeting with the Belgian Government’s health department.

He said: "They were very interested in how Oldham Primary Care Trust is setting up a programme for the treatment of benzodiazepine addicts, which they are thinking of implementing in Belgium.

"We got a very positive response wherever we went.

"Mr Byrne was surprised that reporting adverse drug reactions was a purely voluntary scheme in England and I warned that such reports will always be years behind the facts."

Mr Haslam is a trustee of Beat the Benzos which works to provide better recognition and services for people addicted to prescribed drugs.

He was addicted to Ativan for ten years, and weaned himself off the drug, although he says it left him disabled.

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

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