A senior Labour Party politician has called for a national action plan and a national help line for people addicted to prescription drugs
Speaking at a House of Lords debate on addiction to prescription drugs, on 19 March 2018, shadow spokesperson for health and care, Lord Hunt, said many patients were suffering “huge damage as a result of overdependence, often because they have been prescribed a particular medicine for too long a period”.
“There appears to be woeful ignorance among many people in the health service about this impact of dependence. There are no national programmes for supporting people. Instead, people rely on local charities, which are grossly underfunded,” he said.
Hunt called for “a national action plan, a national helpline and support for local charities, and to get the NHS to start taking this seriously”.
Health and social care minister, Lord O’Shaughnessy, said the government “take seriously” the issue of dependence on prescription drugs. He told the Lords that health minister Steve Brine had commissioned Public Health England to review the evidence on the scale and nature of the problem with some prescription medicines, and how those problems can be prevented and treated. The review is due to report in spring 2019.
“It is premature to say what the outcomes of that review will be, but undoubtedly we need a comprehensive approach to dealing with this problem, because it is getting worse,” O’Shaughnessy said.