Freedom of information response

Prescribed tranquiliser dependency

Publication date: 
Monday 20 May 2024

From April 2013 local authorities were given responsibility by Public Health England for providing drug and alcohol services. 

This FOI request relates only to those patients who have become addicted or dependent upon tranquilising medications prescribed by their doctors. They do not abuse these or other substances, and were not previously dependent on these or other substances. This group is therefore distinct from illicit drug users.

Can I please request the following information:

1. How many referrals have there been to drug and alcohol services in your local authority in the years 2021, 2022, 2023 for treatment for addiction to benzodiazepines, z drug tranquillisers, gabapentinoids and opiods prescribed by their GPs? Please break this down by year, gender and drug.

2. How many Involuntary Tranquilliser Addicts are currently in treatment provided by your local authority’s drug and alcohol services for addiction to benzodiazepine, z drug tranquillisers, gabapentinoids and opiods prescribed by their GPs? Please break this down by gender and drug.



2021-22 = Fewer than 5 referrals, Diazepam, male

2022-23 = Fewer than 5 referrals, Diazepam, male

2023-24 = 0 referrals

2. There are currently none in treatment in relation to the specified substance types initiated by their GPs.

We are unable to provide an exact number for question 1 above as: 

  • There is a low number involved. 
  • The release of this information could identify individuals which would constitute their personal data under the Data Protection Act  
  • There is no prior expectation on the part of these individuals that their personal information would be published in the wider public domain under the FOI Act 
  • Personal data of any other person is exempt under section 40 (2) of the Data Protection Act. 

However, in the interests of transparency we are able to provide this information to you categorised as fewer than 5 to give you an indication of the figures 

Request reference:
FOI 13800