ADS reacts to BMA recommendations on addiction to prescription drugs

This week saw the British Medical Association (BMA), one of the biggest professional bodies for doctors in the UK, release recommendations in relation to addiction to prescribed medication.  This symbolised an important step in highlighting the often over looked and neglected problem of those involuntary addicted to their medication.

The BMA recognises that this is a “significant public health issue, one that is central to doctors’ clinical role, and one that the medical profession has a clear responsibility to help address”, and has provided the rationale for their recommendations to better support patients.

Through engaging with key stakeholders (including ADS), they have examined the issue and have subsequently produced 3 recommendations:

  1. The UK government, working with the devolved nations, should introduce a national, 24 hour helpline for prescribed drug dependence.
  2. Each of the UK governments, relevant health departments and local authorities should establish, adequately resourced specialist support services for prescribed drug dependence.
  3. Clear guidance on tapering and withdrawal management should be developed collaboratively with input from professional groups and patients.

The BMA believe these recommendations should be enacted across the country, and have written to Nicola Blackwood MP, Minister for Public Health & Innovation, to convey this.

The BMA are additionally working to ensure doctors and medical students are adequately trained in managing the risks associated with prescribing psychoactive medications, and are encouraging various UK research councils to research a variety of areas in relation to the issue.

ADS welcomes the BMA’s recommendations; it is important that those in the medical profession, and organisations the size and influence of the BMA recognise the scale of the issue and advocate for support to be available to patients.

Addiction to prescription drugs services are a lifeline to those who have become involuntary dependent on their medication.  ADS’ service provision has been nationally recognised as a model of best practice and is reflected in the BMA’s report.

These services exist through the forward thinking partnership between ADS and local authorities in Bury and Oldham, and the hard work of campaigners like Barry Haslam.  However, if such vital services are to be available nationally, Government ministers and associated policy teams must take forthright action and come together with clear funding, objectives and direction to local authorities.  Until this is achieved, those suffering from involuntary dependence to prescribed medication across the country will not receive the care and support that is luckily available to the residents of Oldham and Bury.

ADS are committed to providing services for, and raising awareness of those addicted to prescription medication.  It is an involuntary dependence caused through no fault of the individuals themselves, until national action is taken on this matter many people will fall through the net and not receive the support they should be entitled to.

You can read more about our Addiction to Prescription Drug service here: http://www.onerecovery.org.uk/oldham/about/addiction-to-prescription-drugs/ and the BMA recommendations here: https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/policy-and-research/public-and-population-health/prescribed-drugs-dependence-and-withdrawal

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