A HELENSBURGH woman’s call for people suffering prescription drug withdrawal symptoms to be given more support is back before MSPs this week.

Marion Brown’s petition is being considered by the Scottish Parliament’s public petitions committee on Thursday.

Earlier this year Ms Brown said she felt the Scottish Government was “fobbing off” concerns on the issue – and on the over-reliance of GPs on prescribing anti-depressants.

Speaking before Thursday’s hearing, Ms Brown said she had submitted a dossier of patient evidence to Public Health England, which is carrying out a review of the prescription of anti-depressants, and was hopeful that the Scottish Government would follow a similar path.

She said: “There are three suggestions for the committee on Thursday: one is to shelve its investigation until Public Health England produces its report, the second is for them to ask the Scottish Government to run a parallel review; and the third is to take any other action the committee considers appropriate.

“We would certainly push for the government to conduct its own review parallel to that of Public Health England. Putting it on hold would be a scary prospect because the longer this gets kicked around, the more people are dying.

“We have pulled together evidence of patients’ experiences for the Public Health England review.

“GPs say they are following guidelines, but those guidelines are not based on patients’ experiences.

“This is a huge deal for people – and the longer it goes on the more massive the problem gets.”

In February the Advertiser spoke to Rosneath resident Ann Kelly, who said she had been on anti-depressants for more than 30 years and had suffered severe withdrawal symptoms when she tried to reduce her reliance on medication.

Ann told the Advertiser this week: “I think things are now moving in the direction they should be.

“The truth about the impact of these drugs, however unpalatable, is slowly but surely seeing the light of day.

“The damage they can do is incalculable. I know one woman who took her own life two weeks ago, and another who has asked her family for help to do the same.

“Nothing about what these drugs can do to people shocks me any more.”

The Helensburgh and Lomond area’s MSP, Jackie Baillie, who has supported the petition, is expected to attend Thursday’s meeting. See next week’s Advertiser for a full report.