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Ormskirk Advertiser
March 3, 2004

Euro-MP Chris Davies (left) watches as benzo campaigner Barry Haslam (right) presents his report to European Health Commissioner David Byrne Health Commissioner David Byrne.

Prescription drug addicts in Ormskirk will be a vital source of information for new EU guidelines to help prevent others from suffering.

Doctors are being accused of encouraging millions of people to become addicted to benzodiazepines (benzos) said to dostroy more lives than heroin and crack cocaine.

The drugs should only be prescribed for up to four weeks, yet are often prescribed for years on end.

An Ormskirk addict, who contributed to the report and requested anonymity, said: "Having been prescribed benzos for 21 years, I insisted that enough was enough in 1989. The hell of withdrawal was worthwhile, because I became my true self again - a rebirth."

There are over 1.2 million people in Britain addicted to the drugs, commonly known by names such as diazepam, lorazepam, temazepam and chlordiazepoxide. They are prescribed to treat anxiety, insomnia and stress.

Euro MP Chris Davies received backing last year from the European Parliament to prepare guidelines on the use of the drugs and help for addicts.

Mr Davies said: "Because those affected don't have to steal to fund their habit, but instead get the drugs from the health service, their plight goes largely unnoticed by society. But the social cost of family breakdowns is immense."

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