Select Committee on Home Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum submitted by Barry Haslam

  Qualifications: Apart from the above accountancy qualifications, when I was able to work. I am a 10 year ex-addict, of Benzodiazepine neuro poisoning drugs and have been tranquilliser free, for nearly 16 years.

  I am a researcher into Benzodiazepine drugs and their horrific consequences. In addition, I have been campaigning for justice, recognition of our drug induced injuries, for treatment centres, de-tox units and a network of support groups country wide to help the victims and their families, for the last 15 years on a purely voluntary basis.

  In addition, I am a member of Tranx (Oldham) for the past nine years. This is a tranquilliser support group, formed to give addicts hope, support and wean them from their legally induced addiction. We use our expertise to help humanity.

  I brief and inform Members of Parliament on the problems of addiction and withdrawal.

  I take telephone calls from addicts worldwide, nationally and locally to give advice, comfort, hope in their addiction nightmare. Again on a voluntary basis, and give interviews to the media on tranquilliser addiction.

  The Government's drug policy is not working, both for legal and illegal addicts.

1.  Heroin Addiction—Class "A" Drug

  The heroin addict steals and "mugs" people, to obtain his/her daily fix. The damage done to society far outweighs, the value to the addict.

  Instead of spending vast amounts to the police, Customs and Excise etc to try and contain the situation. Heroin should be legalised, and the monies, spent on treatment centres, de-tox units and support. By giving them a daily, clean supply of heroin only and gradually withdrawing them on heroin only, not Methadone or Benzodiazepine drugs, which kills more addicts than heroin.

  Give them a daily supply, treat them as human beings, and put them on the road to recovery. Not treat them as criminals and give enormous profits to the drug pushers and cartels.

2.  Benzodiazepine Addiction—Class "C" Drug

      (a)  The above cause more controlled drug deaths, than heroin and cocaine, in total1;

      (b)  causes permanent brain damage2;

      (c)  causes cognitive defects3;

      (d)  causes paradoxical reaction4;

      (e)  causes road deaths5;

      (f)  causes damage to new born babies6;

      (g)  causes addiction, even on therapeutic dosage7;

      (h)  causes socio-economic costs8;

      (i)  causes increase in suicidal thoughts and tendencies9;

      (j)  causes iatrogenic crime10; and

      (k)  causes aggression in prisons11.

3.  Reasons for the Benzodiazepine Drug Scandal and MPs comments

  (a)  The drug manufacturers in the 1950s, 60s and 70s saw a very lucrative market, after the barbiturates. The drugs themselves, were not clinically tested for long enough periods, and in their greed the population of the UK became guinea pigs and involuntary victims, to bolster the capital reserves on balance sheets and salaries, dividend payments in the profit and loss account of the manufacturers . . . "Profit before people".

  (b)  The medical professions complete apathy and fudging of issues.

  1980—Committee on review of medicines. "However following an extensive review of all available data the committee concluded that on the present available evidence, the true addiction potential of Benzodiazepine was low. The number dependent on the Benzodiazepine in the UK from 1960 to 1977 has been estimated to be 28 persons".12

  Consider that from 1960 to 1977 over 300 million prescriptions for Benzodiazepine drugs had been issued in the UK.

  Therefore vested interests and fudging Rule OK!

  (c)  Mr Phil Woolas MP, 7 December 1999. Parliamentary Debate (Westminster Hall) on Benzodiazepine.

    "The impact is so large that it is too big for Governments, regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry to address head on, so the scandal has been swept under the carpet."13

  (d)  David Blunkett MP (now Minister—Home Office) A letter to Barry Haslam, 24 February 1994.14

    "In pushing the Government to accept its own responsibilities and to take action now to ensure that it does not happen again.

  This is something we will be returning to both in the House and in terms of our own future policy development.

  I am passing your letter to Paul Boateng who, as the Legal Affairs spokesman, has specific responsibility for the litigation side of what is a national scandal."15

  The Benzodiazepine drug scandal, is the biggest of any century.

  Despite all the available evidence given to Government, nothing is being done.

  A class 'C' drug is killing more victims than class "A".

  Benzodiazepine drugs should be reclassified now, to an "A" status.

  A Royal Commission is needed, to urgently inquire as to why such dangerous class "C" drugs have been allowed to be marketed so freely, for over 40 years.

November 2001


  1.  Extract from Home Office statistical bulletins. Summary of Controlled Drug Deaths. (Compiled by B Haslam; 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995 and 1996).

  2.  Manchester Disability Appeal Tribunal held on 14 November 1996. Appellant—Barry Haslam.

  3.  A comparison to cognitive impairment due to Benzodiazepine and to narcotics. (Am J Psychiatry 137:7, July 1980).

  4.  Toxicity and adverse consequences of Benzodiazepine use (Dr Heather Ashton, Psychiatric Annals, 25: 3, March 1995).

  5.  The Guardian newspaper, 23 October 1998.

  6.  Benzodiazepine tranquillisers and hypnotics evidence submitted to the House of Commons Health Committee 1999, Sixth Report (item 7) page 2, (Professor C H Ashton, 7 October 2001).

  7.  Benzodiazepine tranquillisers and hypnotics evidence submitted to the House of Commons Health Committee 1999, Sixth Report (item 1) page 1, (Professor C H Ashton, 7 October 2001).

  8.  Benzodiazepines—How they work and how to withdraw (by Professor C H Ashton (page 10)).

  9.  Increase in suicidal thoughts and tendencies association with Dizepam therapy (Jama 25 March 1968, Vol 203, No 13).

  10.  Criminal behaviour and medicinal treatment—iatrogenic crime. (The Law Society's Gazette 22 July 1987, page 2177).

  11.  Effect of psychotropic drugs in a prison setting. (Canadian Family Physician, November 1975.)

  12.  Systematic Review of the Benzodiazepines (Committee on the Review of Medicines,) (British Medical Journal 29 March 1980.)

  13.  Parliamentary debates (Hansard) (Tuesday 7 December 1999 Westminster Hall).

  14.  David Blunkett MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Member of Parliament for Sheffield, Brightside. (Letter to Barry Haslam, 24 February 1994.)

  15.  Paul Boateng MP (letter to Barry Haslam, 25 April 1994).

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