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MP's Boost for Beat the Benzos Campaign

Oldham Chronicle
January 10, 2008

Michael Behan

THE campaign to get more services for people addicted to legally prescribed drugs is going to the heart of the House of Commons.

The Beat the Benzos campaign run by Uppermill campaigner Barry Haslam and Londoner Mick Behan is being supported by Heywood and Middleton MP Jim Dobbin.

And from this week Mr Dobbin is employing Mr Behan two days a week to work in the Commons with him.

Mr Dobbin is already a founder member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group set up in 2006 to fight for better treatment for tranquilliser addicts.

Mr Dobbin is the group's chairman, the secretary is John Grogan, MP for Selby, and it includes Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrat members.

Mr Behan, a former school teacher, will have a paid post.

Like Mr Haslam, he was addicted to the benzodiazepine drug Ativan for almost a decade, and weaned himself off it because he could not find any treatment services.

Both men set up Beat the Benzos as a campaign group to fight for better public awareness of the dangers of addiction, and for better services for addicts.

Mr Behan said: "This new post will mean we take our message right into the Commons and it should be heard loud and clear.

"I will be doing a lot of letter writing to the Department of Health and trying to get more MPs to become members of the all-party group.

"I will also be trying to find out who we are dealing with. We get letters signed by Health Ministers, but there is someone behind them, civil servants or specialist advisers, who are running their policy.

"The main aim is to campaign for services for addicts of legally prescribed drugs and find out why there are no services."

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