Quotes from the Department of Health

And the saga continues ………

2009

Gillian Merron, Public Health Minister, answer to Parliamentary Question: “The addiction to prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines, is a very important issue…..This review will identify where and how policy should advanced, so that those addicted to prescription or OTC drugs receive high quality, effective services.”

2006

Poonam Bassi, Customer Service Centre, Department of Health in a letter to Colin Downes-Grainger: “The Department of Health, the NHS and the various professional groups regard such involuntary addiction as a very important issue

2004

Rosie Winterton MP, Minister of State, Department of Health: “First of all let me say that the Department of Health, the NHS and the various professional groups regard involuntary addiction upon benzodiazepine drugs as a very important issue… As you know, the main focus of the Department of Health’s action in this area has been to try and prevent addiction/dependence occurring in the first place by warning GPs and other prescribers of the potential side-effects of prescribed medicines and the dangers of involuntary addiction.”

 2002

Anna Higgitt, Senior Policy Advisor, Department of Health: We take the problem seriously

 2001

Professor Louis Appleby, National Director for Mental Health, Department of Health on BBC Panorama “The Tranquilliser Trap”: “It is difficult to defend that we have such a huge problem of benzodiazepine prescription and long-term use and therefore dependence”

 1999

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Mr. John Hutton) : “I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East and Saddleworth (Mr. Woolas) on having raised this important issue. I assure him and my hon. Friends the Members for Basildon (Angela Smith) and for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn)–he takes a close interest in such matters–that we treat the issues raised extremely seriously, and have no intention of sweeping them under the carpet.”

1990

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Mr Roger Freeman): “It is unlikely that it would be possible to obtain accurate statistical data on those dependent on benzodiazepines. What is important is to encourage careful prescribing of benzodiazepines, to promote alternatives to their use and to provide services for those experiencing problems as a result of their dependence: the right hon. Member will be aware of the initiatives the Government are taking in this respect.”

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