Lethal Treatment for Alcoholics

Woman drinking glass of red wine in bar uid 1273142 Britain’s National Health Service offering alcoholics ‘potentially lethal’ treatment, say campaigners

UK Advocates threatens legal action against health authorities providing drug-based treatments over rehabilitation

Alcohol dependency affects 1.1 million people in Britain

National Health Service authorities that offer alcoholics controlled drinking treatments relying on medication rather than total abstinence could face legal action from a patients’ organisation.

UK Advocates, a pressure group campaigning for the wider availability of rehabilitation courses for addicts, is preparing to file claims against the Department of Health and local health services.

The charity maintains it has found evidence of thousands of patients with severe alcohol problems being given "psycho-active drugs" while they are still drinking.

The combination, it is alleged, can be "potentially lethal" and is at odds with the manufacturer’s prescription advice and guidelines. "In many cases," UK Advocates claims, "drugs and controlled drinking programmes are administered to sufferers without the doctor or clinicians involved having performed effective liver function tests to establish the extent of liver damage from excessive drinking.

"Treating alcoholics with drugs and on a basis of ‘moderation’ is similar to advising someone with lung cancer to cut down their smoking," says Bob Beckett, founder of UK Advocates.

"Controlled drinking programmes … hark back to the 1960s and 70s when we believed pharmaceuticals would cure everything, including addiction to alcohol. They simply have not worked.

Full story at; The Guardian, UK

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