The Project is a voluntary sector organisation set up originally in 1985 to help those having problems with certain prescribed psychotropic medication (benzodiazepine tranquillisers/sleeping tablets, other sleeping tablets and antidepressants). We help people who are taking, who are considering taking or have recently withdrawn from this type of medication.
In 2013 community pharmacists dispensed approximately 10.7 million prescriptions for benzodiazepines. It has been estimated that there are around 1.5 million chronic users in England and Wales (i.e. people taking drugs for 4 months or more). There has been a 29% increase in prescriptions for Dizepam alone over the last 12 years.
There has been an increase over the past 15 years in the prescribing of the newer sleeping tablets (Zopiclon, Zopidem and Zaleplon). Pharmacists have issued over 10 million prescriptions for sleeping tablets in 2011 (roughly half of these were for the 'Z' drugs and half for benzodiazepines).
The Committee on Safety of Medicines issued advice to all prescribing doctors in 1988, stating that benzodiazepines were indicated only in the very short term (2 - 4 weeks) and only for disabling anxiety and insomnia. Despite this some doctors are still prescribing benzodiazepines to new patients for indefinite periods. Nationally little has been done to reduce the huge numbers of people addicted, although particular efforts have been made in some areas (e.g. Bristol).
Prescribing of antidepressants has quadrupled over the past 20 years. In 2013 over 53.3 million prescriptions for antidepressants were issued by community pharmacists in England. It has been estimated that over 4 million people in England are taking antidepressants regularly. This number is increasing by 10% every year and there is no sign of this trend changing.
Over the past 15 years the Committee on Safety of Medicines has received an unprecedented number of reports about dependence-related problems with SSRI's and other new antidepressants. The SSRI's and other new antidepressants account for the 5 of the 6 top drugs for which withdrawal reactions have been repoted worldwide. The highest number of adverse reactions have been reported with Paroxetine (Seroxat). The second highest number are with Venlafaxine (Efexor).
Local Services we Offer in the Bristol Area:
- We run a telephone help-line from 10.00 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. Mondays to Thursdays. Please see the Contact Us page for the telephone number.
There are often occasions when we experience a high volume of calls if you are unable to get through please keep trying. Regretfully we are not able to return calls.
- You can book in to see one of our counsellors for an assessment, where we can go through a reduction programme and discuss what you needs are and how we can support you. An assessment and reduction programme can also be done via the helpline if you are unble to get here.
- We provide individual one-to-one prescribed drugs counselling, mainly for those new to the Project and for those undergoing particularly severe withdrawal symptoms.
- We run facilitator led self-help groups every week in which you can meet others who face similar problems and discuss your withdrawal programme. Access to those already using our service.
- We have a drop-in service at Henleaze 5 times a week for those in particular distress and are already using the services at the Project.
The Project provides a safe and supportive atmosphere for you to discuss the problems of taking and withdrawing from benzodiazepines and other psychotropic medicine. We keep individual GPs informed when clients start to work with us and we ask all clients to keep their GPs informed of progress.
Our services are free and confidential.
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