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Oldham Chronicle
May 19, 2006

THE problem of addiction to prescription drugs will be raised with a European commissioner later this month.

The issues have been raised by veteran campaigner Barry Haslam of Uppermill, and taken up by his Liberal Democrat Euro-MP, Chris Davies.

Mr Davies will meet Georgina Georgiou, an official of the Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner, Markos Kyprianou, on May 30, to discuss four ways in which the commissioner might help.

Mr Haslam, who has campaigned hard for people who have become addicted to prescription drugs such as benzodiazepines, wants the EU to create a standard system of warnings, patient information updates, and best-practice guidelines.

He also campaigns for better services and facilities for addicts of prescribed drugs.

When Mr Davies meets Ms Georgiou, he hopes to take up the issues of better labelling, and better measures to ensure that patient information, such as the safe amount of time drugs should be used for.

He will also ask for research into prescription drug addiction across Europe, and guidelines for prescribing policies across the union, which vary widely at the moment.

Mr Haslam said: “This sounds very positive, especially after Chris got earlier legislation through.”

In 2003 Mr Davies persuaded the European Parliament to amend a report on the prevention of risks which go with drug dependence.

His amendment ensured more work on the risks associated with prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, and on better treatment and more support for patients suffering long-term withdrawal symptoms or permanent effects.

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