A SUPPORT group is being set up in Worcester for people who are struggling to deal with withdrawal and addictions to prescription drugs.

The group has been set up by Stuart Bryan, and Sue Irwin, who both have personal experience of involuntary dependency and withdrawal difficulties from prescribed psychotropic medication, as well as having both worked in local mental health services.

Mr Bryan, 48, said: "I have been on different drugs for about 20 years for depression and found it very hard to get off them.

"I tried to get off it in January and found withdrawal very difficult.

"During that time I did a lot more research into withdrawal and found that a lot of drugs require a very slow withdrawal process.

"We are hoping that this group will help people as it is becoming more and more known in the media now the issue of addiction to prescription drugs.

"We are hoping that by running this group, people will be encouraged and realise they are not alone in dealing with this.

"It will be peer-led at first, until we know how many people are coming regularly, and we have also got a couple of guest speakers lined up."

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The group will be meeting at the Quaker Friends Meeting House in Sansome Walk and has the following aims:

l. To offer a safe space for people to discuss their difficulties with prescribed antidepressants, sleeping pills and benzodiazepines.

l. To offer peer support for people to manage dependency and withdrawal safely from antidepressants, sleeping pills and benzodiazepines where appropriate.

l. To inform and educate people about prescribed medication, health and wellness by exploring relevant topics and having suitable guest speakers.

Meetings will be free to attend, and will be held from 7.15pm until 8.45pm fortnightly from October 9.

The group is open to adults who are currently taking antidepressants, sleeping pills and sedatives and either want to taper off, are currently tapering off or have successfully tapered off, but are still experiencing withdrawal effects.

Participants will be encouraged to further discuss any health concerns with appropriate professionals.

According to Public Health England, in South Worcestershire, 42,730 people received a prescription for anti-depressants in 2017-18 – 17 per cent of the adult population. Contact Stuart Bryan for further information at stuartbryan@btinternet.com