The Bristol Tranquiliser Project was founded in 1984 by Val Stevens who put an ad in the papers for like-minded people to meet i.e. those on psychotropic medications to support each other. A year later Ian Singleton was helped by Val and as he recovered, he became involved in the work of the Project and helped to build it up. In 1995 we received 3-year central government funding, joint finance, and this was then taken up by Avon Health Authority then Bristol Primary Care Trust and now the Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group. We became a registered charity in 1996 and a company limited by guarantee in 2004. Our Patron was Professor Ashton who was of enormous support in setting up the charity.
The Project is a registered charity that has been helping people successfully withdraw from psychotropic medication for over 35 years. We are currently funded by the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group and report and liaise with our link officer with regards to the work we carry out. All staff work part time and include a manager, 3 counsellors and 2 administrators, and is overseen by a management committee of 6 trustees. Our helpline is available Monday to Thursday 10am to 3pm. We have this website with useful information and signposting to other services. We also have an additional service dedicated to helping older adults (HOP programme) which is self-funded and in operation for the last 20 years. We provide help to up to 300 clients a year who are involuntarily addicted to psychotropic medications. We offer 1:1s, groups and above all a telephone helpline. Although we help mainly clients in the Bristol area, we take helpline calls from all over the United Kingdom.
Our philosophy is that withdrawal from benzodiazepines and antidepressants should be safe and gradual. We help clients to withdraw but we do not dictate to them. The impetus to come off these highly addictive drugs must come from the clients themselves or they are unlikely to succeed. We advocate making small cuts every month to six weeks. This is slower than most doctors’ advocate, but we have seen the effects of faster withdrawal, when clients may succeed in withdrawing but then must reinstate or take other medication to cope with the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. Above all, we help to reassure clients that what they are suffering from is indeed withdrawal, that they can put up with the extreme pressures involved and that they will get well eventually. We continue to support clients for as long as they need, which can be for up to 2 years or more following cessation of medications.
The majority of clients self-refer, other referrals come from doctors and occasionally Community Psychiatric Nurses (CPNs). All clients contacting the service are advised to inform their prescriber that they intend to come off their medication, for those clients who live within our catchment area, we will write to their GPs to inform them and gain permission to work with their patient. Clients who live locally are also offered our other services as well as the helpline e.g. groups 1:1s, crisis management and drop-ins. All clients are assessed, and calls are logged, we also log any 1:1s, groups, crisis management and drop-in sessions. We will work with the client to devise a reduction programme that can also include taking time to stabilise on a drug and/or switching to a different medication. We can also offer support to family or friends so that they can support the client.
We have helped thousands of clients to withdraw successfully over the past 35 years.
Bristol & District Tranquilliser Project 0117 9500020 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Bristol and District Tranquilliser Project is a company limited by guarantee (No: 5126531) and is a charity registered in England and Wales (No: 1104033). The Project is funded by Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucester (BNSSG) Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and other charitable organisations named under sponsorship.