Public Health England Launches Investigation into Prescribed Drug Dependence and Withdrawal

Klonopin pill sitting on a flat surface

A Ground-Breaking Announcement

Our friends at the Council for Evidence-Based Psychiatry (UK) (CEPUK) have announced some big news that we're eager to be sharing with the ICI and TWP community:

Public Health England has launched an official investigation that will look into prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal, focusing on antidepressants, benzodiazepines, Z-drugs (i.e. "sleep aids"), GABAergic (anti-convulsant) drugs, and opioids.

It's very significant that an official government public health authority has named psychiatric drug dependence as both a real *and* serious public health matter requiring investigation and solutions. Moving ahead, governmental, medical, and psychiatric authorities will have a far harder time trying to ignore, deny, or sweep this critical matter under the rug ― and as more of us who feel passion for this issue come together to discuss, strategize, organize, and strengthen the volume of our collective voice, politicians and policymakers in our respective localities will be far more likely to feel pressured to take notice and follow suit.

The time has come to ignite public awareness and discussion of this issue ― and it's great to see the UK paving the way. Hats off to CEPUK and the All Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence for their commitment and hard work!


So what can you do right now to take action?

  1. If you're feeling unclear about what physical drug dependence is, how dependence differs from addiction, or why withdrawal symptoms happen when you reduce or stop a psychiatric drug, you can read TWP's "Primer on Psychiatric Drug Dependence, Tolerance, and Withdrawal" to deepen your understanding of these issues.
     
  2. If you're feeling fired up about connecting with others in your community to start discussions about how to spread awareness of psychiatric drug dependence and withdrawal, join ICI Connect and TWP Connect today.
     
  3. Spread the word about this newly launched Public Health England investigation through your networks. Here are a few articles that you can share:
  4. Share your thoughts and responses here in the comments section and on our Facebook page: What are your opinions about this investigation? How do you feel about the language that the media is using to describe these issues? What do you see as the biggest obstacles preventing such an investigation from starting in your country? What steps do you think need to be taken to overcome these obstacles?

 

Image removed.
Photo courtesy of mr.smashy and Flickr Creative Commons.

Comments

I've been following the media coverage of this today. The BBC goes to great pains to toe the official medical line: "While antidepressants are not addictive, some patients experience difficulties when they try to stop taking them," and "Experts say many prescriptions will be appropriate and people should not come off their medication without speaking to their doctor." No mention of the source of this information, but there's a clue in the last line... "The Royal College of Psychiatrists said antidepressants were potentially lifesaving for some people and patients should not be put off taking them in light of this review." From the sour tone of this statement I'm guessing the government investigation is going ahead without backing from the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Way to go, CEPUK!

This is incredible and hopefully the start of something big. It's so much to do with informed consent. It would almost be different (but still bad) if people *knew* that ssri's and benzos are as addictive and harmful as the high strength pain meds. At least people would know what they're getting into. Thanks Inner Compass Initiative for helping me feel fired up instead of hopeless/helpless. <3