Press Release: APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence welcomes new action plan by NHS England to tackle prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal


2 March 2023

The APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence today welcomes the publication of the NHS England Framework for Action ‘Optimising personalised care for adults prescribed medicines associated with dependence or withdrawal symptoms’ (also attached).

This framework is intended to encourage Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) to develop and deliver safe deprescribing services in their area to support patients suffering from prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal, and to identify patients who should reduce or stop taking their medicines through programmes such as Structured Medication Reviews (SMRs).

The provision of local support services for sufferers of prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal was one of the recommendations in Public Health England’s 2019 Prescribed Medicines Review.  This review established that:

  • 26% of the adult population of England had been prescribed a dependency forming medication in the previous year,
  • Patients report severe harmful effects and disability when withdrawing which can last many months or years
  • There is a lack of services available to support sufferers of prescribed drug dependence

Recent research also shows that around £500m is wasted annually on unnecessary prescribing of dependency-forming medications such as antidepressants and benzodiazepines.

The framework also includes details of the ‘Lived and professional Experience Advisory Panel for Prescribed Drug Dependence’ ( which has been set up to connect NHS commissioners with lived experience experts and charities who are ready to help with the development of new services.

Lord Crisp, ex CEO of the NHS and Co-chair of the APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence, says:

”For decades, patients have experienced often life-changing withdrawal symptoms from medicines such as sleeping pills and antidepressants with almost no support or recognition from the health service.  The APPG for Prescribed Drug Dependence welcomes this new framework for action from NHS England, which should lead to the delivery of services across the country to help those who are suffering.

However it will take months or perhaps years for these services to be developed. In the meantime we call on the Government to implement its own recommendation for a 24 hour national helpline and website to support those in crisis today. Together these initiatives will save lives, reduce suffering and bring down the unnecessary costs to the public purse.”




For further information or for interviews please contact   For more information on LEAP please contact

More information on the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence can be found at


The APPG addresses the growing problem of prescribed drug dependence. Increasing numbers of prescriptions for addictive, psychoactive drugs are being given to both adults and children, including benzodiazepines, antidepressants, antipsychotics, stimulants and painkillers.

The APPG for PDD is chaired by Danny Kruger MP, and co-chaired by Lord Crisp.  Officers include Baroness Hollins, Baroness Masham of Ilton, Baroness Stroud, the Earl of Sandwich, Baroness Meyer, Debbie Abrahams MP, Crispin Blunt MP and Steve Brine MP.

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