Mum speaks about 22 year battle to break addiction to tranquillisers

Over 80 million prescriptions for psychiatric drugs are written every year in the UK and it is thought nearly two million people are addicted to the tablets medics are increasingly and legitimately prescribing.

These include Ativan, Librium, Diazepam and Temazepam, known as benzodiazepine drugs. Many are prescribed to genuine users for anxiety, panic attacks and depression, though it is feared they are also sold on the black market for as little as 50p each by misusers.

The type of tablets has long been prescribed since the 1960s when they were dubbed `Mummy's Little Helpers'.

Though it is advised such medication should only be taken for short times, many users stay on them for years and become unwittingly addicted.

There were 372 drug-related deaths involving benzodiazepines in 2014. The mortality rate was 6.6 deaths per million population, an 8% increase from 2013 and the highest death rate since records began in 1993.

The Bradford-based Bridge Project is one of the few places in the UK to run a tailor-made support service for people addicted to prescription drugs.

Today, speaking for the first time, mum-of-three Sandra Minshull reveals how she has been addicted to a prescription tranquilliser for 40 years and says it has robbed her of a life.