Swanswell welcomes calls for urgent action over prescription drug misuse

20 December 2013

Clearer prescribing guidance and more time for patients to talk to their GP are just two of the measures that could help cut misuse of prescription drugs, says Swanswell.

The national recovery charity, which wants to achieve a society free from problem alcohol and drug use, is responding to a report from the Commons Home Affairs Committee, calling for urgent action after figures revealed up to 1.5 million people could be addicted (BBC News).

The MPs want GP surgeries to start collecting anonymous data and make sure more is done to stop patients visiting several doctors, often as a temporary patient, to get more prescription drugs.

Swanswell believes that clearer prescribing guidelines and giving patients more time to talk to their GP are some of the options that will help identify people who might be misusing medication.

Dr Martyn Hull, Swanswell's Medical Director, said: ‘It's clear from today's figures that action needs to be taken urgently to stop misuse of prescription drugs.

As a charity which specialises in helping people overcome problem drug - and alcohol - use, we recognise the harms, and work with people to get them off prescription medication, if it's the right thing to do.

The MPs have suggested that more people are addicted to prescribed drugs such as sleeping tablets and painkillers than to illicit drugs - these can be equally as harmful if misused, yet this form of addiction appears to be approached differently.

There needs to be clearer guidance about prescribing, and more time for an in-depth conversation between GPs and patients, so they can discuss better alternatives to staying on prescribed medication, if appropriate.’

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