CAMPAIGN IN THE UK

INFORMATION CURRENT AS OF JUNE 2017

 

In the United Kingdom, one of the most important things we can do as activists and to bring awareness is to reach out to key people. You can also, if possible, visit your surgery in order to tell your story. Please ask that your friends and family complete the following campaigning as well.

1. Write to your MP:

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD) is seeking to recruit more MPs to support its activities and, in particular, its demand for a national helpline to support those affected by prescribed drug dependence.

The more MPs who attend APPG meetings and contribute to debates on this topic, the more likely we are to achieve much-needed change.  The APPG for PDD is chaired by Paul Flynn MP, and its website can be found at prescribeddrug.org.

MPs respond positively to requests from constituents and a personal story is one of the most effective ways to obtain their support. 

The APPG for PDD is working with a range of stakeholders as a part of the British Medical Association project on ways to support people who are affected by prescribed drug dependence, including a joint call for a national helpline and accompanying website.

The APPG for PDD believes that a national helpline is the first step towards the provision of appropriate local services, as it will also enable the NHS to gather data on the scale of the problem and highlight gaps in local service provision.

We, therefore, suggest that you write to your MP in the first instance, preferably by post rather than email as this is more likely to generate a response.

You can find out who your MP is as well as contact details for them here.

To view the sample letter and instructions on sending it, click below:

MP Sample Letter

Instructions for sending a letter:

  1. View the sample letter (below)
  2. Personalize the parts in red of the sample letter to include the correct details.
  3. Look over everything one more time to be sure you haven’t overlooked anything.
  4. Print the letter
  5. Sign the letter
  6. Post the letter:

Write to your MP at their local constituency office or the following address:

[MP name]

House of Commons London  SW1A 0AA

The APPG for PDD would like to keep apprised of any progress, so after reaching out to your MP, please e-mail them: admin@prescribeddrug.org

UK Sample Letter:

[Your address: Make sure you include your own address in the letter so that they know you live in their constituency] 

[MP name and address] 

[date] 

Dear [MP name],

I am writing today to urge you to support the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence, and its demand for a national helpline to help patients who have been affected by this major public health issue.

[your story in brief – no more than 200 words] 

Currently, there are no NHS services to help people withdraw from benzodiazepines, antidepressants, painkillers and other psychotropic medications. A helpline and accompanying website would provide a lifeline for people like me and would be an essential resource for both patients and doctors—most of whom have little understanding of the problems these drugs can cause.

Can you confirm that you will support this APPG by attending its meetings, and by contributing to relevant debates? Can you lend your support to the demand for a national helpline?

I have included a short summary of the work of the APPG as well as the rationale for a national helpline.

[I would also welcome the opportunity to meet in person to describe my experience and intend to make an appointment at your surgery.]

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely,

[your name] 

[your address] 

[your email and phone number] 

 


 

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD)

The APPG is addressing the growing problem of prescribed drug dependence (PDD). Increasing numbers of prescriptions for addictive, psychoactive drugs are being given to both adults and children, including benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants and painkillers. While these drugs may help some people in the short-term, there is growing evidence that long-term use leads to worse outcomes, and many patients report devastating persistent withdrawal and other negative effects. The APPG for PDD will engage with this issue by demanding appropriate services for those affected, proper training for medical professionals, reduced prescribing through adherence to new and existing guidelines, better data regarding the prevalence of PDD and more research into long-term harms associated with PDD.

The Chairman of the APPG is Paul Flynn MP.  The co-chairs are Lord Patel of Bradford, David Tredinnick MP, Baroness Masham of Ilton and the Earl of Sandwich.  The APPG website can be found at prescribeddrug.org.

The APPG for PDD is working with a range of stakeholders as a part of the British Medical Association project on ways to better support people who are affected by prescribed drug dependence, including a joint call for a national helpline.  A helpline is urgently needed because:

  • Prescriptions of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and painkillers have risen dramatically over recent years
  • For example in the UK antidepressant prescription numbers have increased by 500% since 1992, with 11% of women and 6% of men taking the drug, while it is estimated that there are up to 1.9m long-term users of benzodiazepines
  • Millions of people may be taking these drugs unnecessarily and should come off with appropriate support
  • Side effects and withdrawal effects can be very severe and last for months and sometimes years, often leading to disability and sometimes suicide
  • There are currently hardly any NHS-funded services to help people withdraw from these or other psychotropic medications
  • The small number of existing charities who provide support can no longer cope with the rise in demand for their services
  • A national helpline and accompanying website would be an essential resource for patients, carers, families, and doctors
  • It would be a low-cost, yet effective national response to a recognised public health issue

We believe that a national helpline is also the first step towards the provision of appropriate local services, as it will also enable the NHS to gather data on the scale of the problem and highlight gaps in local service provision.



2. Email the Public Health Minister and the Department of Health:

After you have completed the above letter-writing to your MP, you can also campaign further e-mailing the Public Health Minister and the Department of Health with a request for their support.

The email address for the Public Health Minister is: PHI.Minister@dh.gsi.gov.uk

The contact form for the Department of Health is here 

To view the sample letter you will send to both the Public Health Minister and the Department of Health, click below:

Public Health Minister and Department of Health Sample Letter

Instructions for sending a letter:

  1. View the sample letter (below)
  2. Personalize the parts in red of the sample letter to include the correct details.
  3. Look over everything one more time to be sure you haven’t overlooked anything.
  4. Send off the emails (one via your own personal email and the other via the contact form)

UK Sample Letter:

[Your address] 

[Contact Name, Credentials, Department] 

[date] 

Dear [Contact Name],

My name is [your name] and I live [where you live]. I am writing today to urge you to support the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence, and its demand for a national helpline to help patients who have been affected by this major public health issue.

[your story in brief – no more than 200 words] 

Currently, there are no NHS services to help people withdraw from benzodiazepines, antidepressants, painkillers and other psychotropic medications. A helpline and accompanying website would provide a lifeline for people like me and would be an essential resource for both patients and doctors—most of whom have little understanding of the problems these drugs can cause.

Can you confirm that you will support this APPG by attending its meetings, and by contributing to relevant debates? Can you lend your support to the demand for a national helpline?

I have included a short summary of the work of the APPG as well as the rationale for a national helpline.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

[your name] 

[your address] 

[your email and phone number] 


The All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence (APPG for PDD)

The APPG is addressing the growing problem of prescribed drug dependence (PDD). Increasing numbers of prescriptions for addictive, psychoactive drugs are being given to both adults and children, including benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants and painkillers. While these drugs may help some people in the short-term, there is growing evidence that long-term use leads to worse outcomes, and many patients report devastating persistent withdrawal and other negative effects. The APPG for PDD will engage with this issue by demanding appropriate services for those affected, proper training for medical professionals, reduced prescribing through adherence to new and existing guidelines, better data regarding the prevalence of PDD and more research into long-term harms associated with PDD.

The Chairman of the APPG is Paul Flynn MP.  The co-chairs are Lord Patel of Bradford, David Tredinnick MP, Baroness Masham of Ilton and the Earl of Sandwich.  The APPG website can be found at prescribeddrug.org.

The APPG for PDD is working with a range of stakeholders as a part of the British Medical Association project on ways to better support people who are affected by prescribed drug dependence, including a joint call for a national helpline.  A helpline is urgently needed because:

  • Prescriptions of benzodiazepines, antidepressants, and painkillers have risen dramatically over recent years
  • For example in the UK antidepressant prescription numbers have increased by 500% since 1992, with 11% of women and 6% of men taking the drug, while it is estimated that there are up to 1.9m long-term users of benzodiazepines
  • Millions of people may be taking these drugs unnecessarily and should come off with appropriate support
  • Side effects and withdrawal effects can be very severe and last for months and sometimes years, often leading to disability and sometimes suicide
  • There are currently hardly any NHS-funded services to help people withdraw from these or other psychotropic medications
  • The small number of existing charities who provide support can no longer cope with the rise in demand for their services
  • A national helpline and accompanying website would be an essential resource for patients, carers, families, and doctors
  • It would be a low-cost, yet effective national response to a recognised public health issue

We believe that a national helpline is also the first step towards the provision of appropriate local services, as it will also enable the NHS to gather data on the scale of the problem and highlight gaps in local service provision.


3. Report your prescribed benzodiazepine drug adverse reaction and/or injury to the Yellow Card Scheme

Click on “side effects”

Select whether you are a member of the public or a healthcare professional (you can ask your healthcare professionals to complete this reporting as well)

Then go on to complete the form, providing as much information as possible about your benzodiazepine experience.


4. Sign the 2017 U.K. Health Select Committee Petition:

Click here to sign

UK activist Claire Hanley began this petition and it is on-going. It will be delivered to the UK’s Health Select Committee and states:

The horrific life-destroying implications of benzodiazepines have been known about for decades and yet the medical profession remain largely in denial of the damage. The Department of Health, the BMA, and Parliament have a duty to give justice to those whose lives have been ruined. There must be an inquiry for the sake of future generations and for those undergoing the horrific consequences of this iatrogenically induced pandemic.

Please note that you do not have to reside in the UK to sign the petition, although UK signatures are the priority.


5. Join the Facebook Group Prescribed Harm UK

The above Facebook group is for people residing in the UK who would like to become further involving in campaigning in the UK around prescribed drug harms. The members of the group campaign to politicians and the media for awareness around prescribed iatrogenic drug dependency, predominantly for benzodiazepines but also antidepressants.

 

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