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TAKE LOOK AT DRUG SCHEME, HEWITT URGED
June 22, 2007
by Janice Barker
ANOTHER MP is calling for Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt to visit Oldham to see a pioneering drug withdrawal service.
Jim Dobbin (Heywood and Middleton) has joined Oldham East MP Phil Woolas to call for Ms Hewitt to see for herself the country's only dedicated benzodiazepine withdrawal project.
The service, which was set up in 2005, is paid for by Oldham Primary Care Trust and run by Oldham's Alcohol and Drug Service (ADS).
Mr Woolas, the Local Government Minister, wants Department of Health officials to come to Oldham to study it.
In his letter to the Health Secretary, Mr Woolas asked why Oldham Primary Care Trust is the only one paying for a three-year programme to help addicts come off legally prescribed benzodiazepines.
Mr Woolas took action after a meeting with Barry Haslam, founder of the Beat the Benzos campaign, Mr Haslam's wife Susan, and Suzanne Atreides and Angela Rankin, from Oldham ADS.
Mr Dobbin, who is also chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Involuntary Tranquilliser Addiction, also wrote: "I know from one of my constituents who was addicted for 28 years how traumatic the process of withdrawal can be.
"My constituent found the Oldham project invaluable in terms of support.
"I am sure that if you manage to visit and see for yourself the excellent work that goes on, you will understand how vital it is that this is made available across the country.
"Not only is it beneficial to patients, it saves expenditure for Government in terms of health, caring, housing and benefits."
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