In 2004, John Reid, then Secretary of State for Health, was asked to address the issue of harm / dependence being caused by benzodiazepines. The response to Barry Haslam’s letter came from the Customer Service Centre; Mr Reid ‘receiving large amounts of correspondence was unable to answer all mail personally’’
John Reid wrote, ‘many people access services in and through primary care’. Even 16 years ago the responsibility was placed on GPs to help patients suffering adverse effects and dependence on benzodiazepines. He placed emphasis on a ‘multidisciplinary approach’ and he appreciated ‘there are concerns about the potential stigma of being treated alongside those with mental health problems and / or alongside people with drug problems that are seen as self-inflicted’.
“HOWEVER, WE DO NOT BELIEVE THAT ESTABLISHING SPECIALIST BENZODIAZEPINE DEPENDENCE TREATMENT SERVICES WOULD BE A COST EFFECTIVE OR EFFICIENT USE OF RESOURCES’. (John Reid)
In November 2019, Marion Brown and I (Beverley Thorpe Thomson), were invited to the Scottish Parliament to meet Jeane Freeman, Cabinet Secretary for Health, to discuss prescribed drug harm and dependence. At that meeting she looked me in the eye and promised she would do ‘something’ about the fact so many people are being harmed and becoming dependent on antidepressants, benzodiazepines and opioids in Scotland.
So, if this is the case, why am I creating Taken-As-Prescribed Support Services? I believe Jeane Freeman is a person of integrity and will possibly do everything she can to stop suffering, to provide support services and to address the significant issue of prescribed drug-induced suicide in Scotland. In reality though, little has changed since John Reid’s letter of 2004, other than more harm and more lives destroyed.
'HOWEVER, I BELIEVE WE CANNOT WAIT FOR ANOTHER 16 YEARS OF DEATHS AND RUINED LIVES CAUSED BY OVER PRESCRIBING, LANDING GPs WITH A PROBLEM THEY HAVE NOT BEEN EDUCATED TO SOLVE AND LEAVING PATIENTS HELPLESS WITH NOWHERE TO TURN FOR SUPPORT. THE PROBLEM NEEDS ADDRESSING NOW.' (Beverley Thorpe Thomson)
In 16 years, Barry Haslam and other individuals and organisations have done tremendous work to move this issue forward and create awareness. By creating T-A-P Support Services I am building on the foundations already laid by those who truly understand the extent of the harm being caused.
In 2004, John Reid said ‘User and carer involvement is nowhere more important than it is in mental health. Empowering patients to take an active role in their care is a key theme in the Government’s mental health policy’.
This isn’t going to be easy but let’s be 'active' and NOW create a blue-print ‘cost effective and efficient’ support service to be rolled out around the country and the rest of the world. T-A-P's Development strategy is written, key professionals are engaged and we are ready to build a service to support patients, educate clinicians and reduce the harm caused by these drugs. Let’s do it!
Please, wherever in the world, I ask you to sign our petition to demonstrate the worldwide need for Taken-As-Prescribed Support Services. Your comments are so important.