Health Minister Maggie De Block (Open VLD) will launch a campaign against the misuse of sleeping pills and tranquilizers next year. Its main aim will be to reduce the consumption of benzodiazepines, La Dernière Heure reported on Saturday. A budget of around 260,000 euros will be invested in the campaign, which is aimed at Doctors, Pharmacists and Consumers.
“We are one of the biggest consumers in Europe”, says spokesman Els Cleemput. “We have to start using them more rationally. We need fewer to be prescribed, but patients also have to realise that this type of medication is often not a solution”. The spokesman explained that the campaign will be bought in at the same time as the reimbursement of psychologist appointments.
A 2013 inquiry showed one in five women and one in ten men use sleeping tablets, tranquilizers or antidepressants. “The problem is often play downed. We are told ‘it’s just a pill’. But it can have huge consequences”, says Professor Thierry Christiaens from the Pharmacology department at Ghent University.
“Not only do we become addicted but these pills affect us when they shouldn’t”, he warns.