RTE Interview on Benzodiazepines with Maia Dunphy

Maia Dunphy Interview In Maia Dunphy’s RTE Documentary ‘What Women Want’ she explored  increased benzodiazepine use amongst women in Ireland. She interviewed me as part of her documentary which you can watch on RTE Player here. 

The National Drugs Prevalence Survey found that there had been a 40% increase in the number using sedatives and tranquillisers between 2007 and 2011. The misuse of drugs doesn’t just take place on our streets, but also in our homes, amongst our friends, colleagues and neighbours. I recognise the problem of the misuse of prescription drugs in Ireland. That’s why the Department of Health is currently reviewing the Misuse of Drugs regulations.

My intention is that additional controls on benzodiazepines and z drugs being traded illicitly will be introduced including:

  • import and export controls on benzodiazepines and z drugs
  • an offence of possession without entitlement (e.g. a prescription) which will assist the Gardai and customs.

Consideration is also being given to the introduction of additional and stricter prescription-writing requirements on benzodiazepines including:

  • A restriction of the period of validity of benzodiazepine prescriptions
  • A restriction of the quantity of benzodiazepines that may be dispensed.

I’d hope that these tighter controls would remind both prescribers and patients of the nature of these medicines and of their potential for misuse. With these restrictions, prescribers would need to use a specific prescription form, sign and date the prescription. They would also be required to set out detailed instructions of the drug including the instalments and intervals that the drug is to be dispensed.