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  1. ITV Report

Yorkshire patients call for a inquiry into the prescription of addictive legal drugs

  • Watch the full report from Katie Oscroft

There are calls for a public inquiry into the prescription of legal drugs which can be as addictive as heroin and cocaine.

It comes amid claims that millions of people could be dependant on benzodiazepine, which should only be taken as a short term measure.

However, addiction rehabiliation resources are often targeted at people who take illegal drugs.

ITV Calendar has been speaking to people in the region whose lives have been altered after they became dependent on medication they were given by a doctor.

Diana Holdsworth, from Barnsley, rarely lets strangers into her house after being given benzodiazepines for earache and vertigo.

[When I answered the door it felt like] I was going to die and have a heart attack. My head wobbling, I feel like I am rocking, bobbing swaying. I feel like I'm going down into the ground when I'm walking. I have to catch myself.

I have four grandchildren and I can't do anything with them, I've never been shopping with my children, I can't go to a doctor, anything medical and I am petrified.

– Diana Holdsworth

Valium and other benzodiazepines were hailed as wonder drugs in the 1970s - prescribed for anxiety, insomnia and depression. However, they can be just as addictive as heroin and cocaine

NHS data shows that in 2015, 12 million prescriptions for benzodiazapenes were written at a cost of £15 million pounds.

12
million prescriptions for benzodiazapenes issued in 2015.
£15m
spent on benzodiazapene prescriptions in 2015.

Data also suggests that there was an increase in the number of people prescribed the drugs for more than 100 days.

Campaigners say they want a public inquiry and a helpline dedicated to people who's lives have been badly affected by medication intended to make them well.