How will we achieve our aims and objectives?
To ensure that, other than in special circumstances the prescribing of benzodiazepines and Z drugs does not exceed the periods of time laid down by the Committee on the Safety of Medicines it is more than likely that Government legislation will be required. The same equally applies if one was to consider having these drugs upgraded to category “A” drugs. To get action by the Government it will be necessary to put pressure on M.P.s and political parties and this can only be done by the public becoming aware of the extent of the problem. There are on the order of 1.2 million people, in this Country, who are long term users of benzodiazepines. If we assume that each of these has, on average, three members of his close family then we have a potential untapped source of 3.5 million people who could be mobilised to help fight our cause.
To reach these people we need to be organised on a City/Town basis in a similar manner to A.A. (alcoholics Anonymous). We will have to recruit people who are prepared to help on both local and area levels. We need immediately people who are wanting to join in the early stages and are prepared to cover the County in which they live. They would then help set up the organisation within that area and act as the point of contact for information which needs to be relayed back to a central core of people who would act as the Management Committee. Remember more hands make less work.
We will make good use of the Internet in both the taking in and the circulation of information such as best practices etc to both members of the organisation and to all areas of the N.H.S.
We will make links with existing organisations that help people with symptoms such as anxiety disorders, panic disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, hiatus hernia, sleeplessness, obsessive compulsive order and agoraphobia. Many of these symptoms being similar to those produced by long term use of benzodiazepines. Many of these groups are already supporting people who are taking benzodiazepines and or "Z" drugs.
We will have people interacting with all Primary Care Trusts and G.P.'s organisations with a view to having close co-operation and working together in an attempt to overcome this massive problem.
If Doctors stop prescribing for longer than the laid down recommended time scale then we will create a situation where there won't be new long term users in the future and the concentration can then be put onto the existing long term users with encouragement being given to why and how they can come off these drugs. We will give them understanding and support for as long as they need it. We will make every effort to ensure that the help available is not only from the voluntary sector but also a drug dependency centre should be available in all P.C.T.'s and counselling available at all G.P.s surgery's.