Action on Prescribed Drug Dependence (Scotland) has been  established to campaign for recognition of the suffering experienced by patients who have unwittingly become dependent on prescribed medication such as sleeping pills, tranquillisers, antidepressants and painkillers.  The medical profession is responsible for creating this problem.  Dependent patients deserve appropriate NHS support during the withdrawal period which can be horrendous and prolonged, sometimes lasting for years.

The campaign is driven by Fiona French, Aberdeen, Marion Brown, psychotherapist and Ann Kelly, Recovery and Renewal, Helensburgh.



Fiona has spent 5.5 years, mostly in bed and has been left with brain damage after tapering off only 5 mg nitrazepam (3 months) as well as 150 mg effexor/venlafaxine (10 months).  She is largely housebound and requires a walking frame or wheelchair outdoors.  Nitrazepam and various antidepressants were prescribed for almost 40 years.  Ann has also been left disabled after also tapering off the antidepressant, effexor, over many months.  Our stories are detailed elsewhere in this website.


APDD aims to do the following:

(1) Raise public awareness of the issues involved by seeking publicity via newspapers, magazines, television and radio.

(2) Raise questions about the year-on-year increases of antidepressant prescribing in Scotland.

(2) Make contact with fellow sufferers and gather evidence of patient experiences of PDD.

(3) Lobby the Scottish government to take action to provide specialist support to those patients adversely affected by benzodiazepines, antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs.

(4) To work in parallel with the ongoing campaign in England, particularly the All Party Parliamentary Group on PDD in the House of Commons.  The APPG is calling for a national helpline, specialist support services and research into the long-term effects of these drugs.  GPs also need to be better educated on the devastating effects of PDD.  Surely patients in NHS Scotland deserve similar action.


This is not a support website.  The links page provides details of online support groups.


13 Responses to Purpose

  1. truthman30 says:

    Great blog. thanks for following my Seroxat one 🙂


  2. Betsy Scala says:

    Thanks for being proactive and helping those on BB


  3. Ann Hunter says:

    Hope your feeling more well .Keep up good work and if you feel I can help let me know .


    • fhfrench says:

      Thank you very much for getting in touch, Ann. I have been very ill again since Christmas and been unable to continue with the campaign. I will re-assess when I am feeling better again.


  4. stuart simpson says:

    Excellent work, especially considering how much the effects of the drugs in question can impair people after withdrawal. It’s not easy to fight back when one is in effect disabled. Carry On with the campaign please


  5. Excellent work, even more impressive given that the drugs have in effect disabled us. Carry On!


    • fhfrench says:

      Thank you, Stuart. I haven’t been able to do very much this year at all because my cognition has been so poor but I was active at the end of last year. Ann is doing well though .. meeting with Health Secretary and CMO next week.


  6. Anne Thomas says:

    Well done for speaking out on this. I’d recommend ‘Cracked why psychiatry is doing more harm than good’ by James Davies. People in third world countries who do not have access to these drugs actually recover faster from depression etc and with less long term problems than those in developed countries who do. Trouble is people are making a lot of money from the drugs. Good diet and exercise and supportive friends are often more effective. We need to make sure such drugs are only used when absolutely necessary if at all and certainly not long term. There is growing evidence of the link between vitamin D deficiency and depression and large numbers in the UK particularly in Scotland are vitamin D deficient as we have a cloudy climate and the sun is only effective for producing vitamin D in the summer months and sun cream manufacturers have taught us to fear the sun and always wear sun cream rather than gradual exposure so you develop a protective tan. Plus we spend a lot more time indoors than previous generations anyway. Once people start to feel depressed they go out less so its a vicious circle. I’ve had experience of 2 close relatives who were severely depressed who improved enormously by getting out in the sun and taking vitamin D supplements. One lives in an area where she and her husband were given a bus pass for 3 months over the summer to get out on trips. Worked much better than many orthodox therapies. See this article https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/reading-between-the-headlines/201307/vitamin-d-deficiency-and-depression and this website https://scotsneedvitamind.com/


    • fhfrench says:

      Thank you very much for your helpful response. I am aware of James Davies’ book but am unable to read due to damage from benzodiazepine withdrawal. I think I skimmed over it. I can write perfectly well, however. Also the link between Vitamin D and depression is very interesting.


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