PE01651: Prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal


Petitioner: Marion Brown on behalf of Recovery and Renewal


Date Lodged: 10 May 2017

Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to take action to appropriately recognise and effectively support individuals affected and harmed by prescribed drug dependence and withdrawal.

Petition History:


29 June 2017: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, the British Medical Association, the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Prescribed Drug Dependence, the Scottish Association for Mental Health and Samaritans. Link to the Official Report 29 June 2017

7 December 2017: The Committee agreed to invite the Minister for Mental Health to provide evidence at a future meeting. Link to the Official Report 7 December 2017 

18 January 2018: The Committee agreed to reflect on the evidence heard at a future meeting and to invite the petitioner to provide a further written submission Link to the Official Report 18 January 2018

26 April 2018: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government, the British Medical Association and general practitioners. Link to the Official Report 26 April 2018

25 October 2018: The Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government. Link to the Official Report 25 October 2018

Thursday 7 March 2019: The Committee agreed to defer further consideration of the petition until after the Short Life Working Group on prescription medicine dependence and withdrawal has reported its recommendations. Link to Official Report 7 March 2019

16 December 2020: The Committee agreed to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. Link to Official Report of Meeting 16 December 2020

24 March 2021: The Committee agreed to close the petition under Rule 15.7 of Standing Orders on the basis that the Short Life Working Group on prescription medicine dependence and withdrawal produced draft recommendations which have been approved by the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport; these draft recommendations have been published as a public consultation which the petitioner can input into. The Committee also agreed to write to the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport. Link to Official Report of Meeting 24 March 2021

Written Submissions:

This petition has been submitted on behalf of Recovery and Renewal independent self-help patient group in Scotland, to raise awareness of the plight of individuals in Scotland who are affected by dependence on and withdrawal from prescribed benzodiazepines and antidepressants – and specifically to ask the Scottish Government to support the BMA’s UK-wide call for action to provide timely and appropriate support for individuals affected.  Please do add your own comments if you wish to. 

I was on antidepressants for five years. They only did me harm. Subsequently, on my recovery, I trained as a counsellor. I had 13 years experience of work in this field, mainly with cancer patients. Research needs to be done on the links between mental and physical illness. Psychotherapeutic care can, I am sure, prevent much physical illness.

Heather Goodare

10:42 on 10 May 2017

As GP's time is more limited and drug companies marketing practices become more attractive, the patient is increasingly at risk - especially in relation to mental health treatments. I've seen children as young as 12 on anti-depressants - confused, struggling to make sense of their world, and now on mind-altering medication - it's not the answer and it's genuinely not safe. There are fast, effective, up-to-date therapies out there. Let people help people ... in a natural, kind, non-addictive (and non-big pharma) way.

Jennifer Broadley

9:03 on 10 May 2017

Our survey of 1800 antidepressant users, the largest ever, found that one in four were addicted and 55% experienced withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop or reduce. Read, J et al. (2014). Psychiatry Research, 216, 67-73. Meanwhile the drug companies and Royal College of Psychiatry insists they are not addictive. This is a repeat of the years if denial that benzodiazepines are addictive. And antidepressants are no more effective than placebo for about 90% of people. Yet one in ten people (1 in 7 women!) are prescribed these drugs every year in UK. Antipsychotics are not addictive but cause diabetes etc and shorten life span, while beating placebo for about 20%. ADHD drugs are also problematic and yet are being increasingly used on our young children.

Professor John Read

8:12 on 10 May 2017

As an NHS Psychiatrist who has worked in Scotland as a Consultant for over 15 years I want to offer my full support for this petition.

Peter J Gordon

7:06 on 10 May 2017

My 20 year old son has been misdiagnosed and has been abused by extreme polypharmacy for years. He is now trying to come off them but the psychs and GPs don't really know what they are doing. I had to pay for an American psych to help but still he is vomiting, his head feels like it's being crushed etc. We haven't even started on the anti depressants yet. These actually change the structure of the brain and the cognitive functioning. They are handed out like Panadol but are really hard to taper off, especially if the Drs don't know what they are doing. We need more independent testing on these drugs NOT testing done by big pharma!


23:52 on 09 May 2017

An emotional prision is bad enough without the serious side effects and chronic illness that these meds cause. Limited opportunity for whole self recovery

Clodagh mcgreehan

21:40 on 09 May 2017

As an NHS Psychiatrist who has worked in Scotland as a Consultant for over 15 years I want to offer my full support for this petition. Recently at a Cross Party Group meeting held at the Scottish Parliament it was stated that 'depression is under-recognised across all age groups' and that 'maintenance treatment has a good risk-benefit ratio.' This was said without acknowledging that these statements cannot be made with absolute certainty. I have found that my profession in Scotland seems to resist evidence of experience and at the same time prioritise the opinions of experts. Potential for Expert Bias (one): There is evidence that establishes that senior Scottish psychiatrists, who have provided expert input to Scottish Government strategies, and who have been involved in developing National prescribing guidelines, have had significant financially-based vested interests. Potential for Expert Bias (two): It is worth perhaps pointing out that Scottish Psychiatry has been traditionally orientated around biological determinants of mental health. Like myself, many academics have concluded that Scottish psychiatry lacks real-world, pluralistic breadth to the science of the mind and brain. Across the border, in England and Wales, the approach is far less reductionist. This includes the involvement of experts whose interests are not solely focussed on the bio-medical determinants of mental health. I do prescribe psychiatric medications including antidepressants but I am concerned, that despite what we are told by the 'experts' that prescribing in Scotland is hardly "conservative". 1 in 7 Scots are now taking antidepressants. Appropriate and informed prescribing is what we seek where there is open discussion about the potential benefits and potential harms of such treatments. This and an honest consideration that for many medications we cannot be certain of long-term effects.

Peter J Gordon

20:42 on 09 May 2017

It is a major scandal of our times that people continue to be prescribed drugs which have been proven to have limited benefits and frequently worsen the original symptoms. In additional those effectively poisoned by these drugs are neither believed nor supported by the medical profession or the public at large. This needs to change.

Stevie Lewis

16:37 on 09 May 2017

Look online and on i-tunes for the 'Lets Talk Withdrawal' new podcast interviews with James Moore - based in UK. These interviews are entirely relevant to this petition.

Marion Brown

12:57 on 09 May 2017

Please may I draw attention to recent online publications. Search for Alliance Scotland Viewpoint 'Is is time for the Scottish Government to be Realistic about antidepressants' published 4 May 2017. Also The Guardian UK articles and research survey about long-term antidepressants 6 May 2017.

Marion Brown

15:22 on 08 May 2017

< Prev  1 2 3 4 5 6  Next >  

Share this petition

Help promote this petition through the following websites.

Number of signatures collected


View all

This website is using cookies.
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we’ll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website.