We are working with Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust as the North London Mental Health Partnership.

The Benzodiazepine and Opiate Withdrawal Service (BOWS)

This service provides specialist support for people who are being prescribed benzodiazepines and opiates by their GP and are seeking additional support to reduce and stop their use to improve their health and treatment outcomes. BOWS is commissioned by The London Borough of Islington, working in partnership with Islington Council to support service users.

Set in GP surgeries in Islington, the specialist worker will work alongside the GP to identify and help patients that are on long-term repeat prescriptions of benzodiazepines, sleeping tablets, and opiates to safely reduce and eventually stop taking their medication.

How we can help you
If it is appropriate for you to stop taking your medication, then a GP or Specialist Nurse Prescriber will offer you a specialist assessment and will help you to manage a gradual reduction in your medication. 

Alongside this you will be referred and have access to specialist psychosocial support and interventions to help you develop the skills necessary to stop your medication and manage any underlying issues.

Why should you come off benzodiazepines and opiates?
Long-term use of benzodiazepines and opiates can give rise to many unwanted effects, including poor memory and perception, blunting of emotions, depression, increased anxiety, increased risk of falls, immune suppression, physical health symptoms and dependence.

The benefits: Clinical experience has shown that most long-term benzodiazepine and opiate users actually feel better after coming off their medication and have reported an improvement in their mood and general wellbeing and a significant reduction in anxiety.

Access to the following treatment and support options

  • Medication reviews and follow ups: Full medication reviews and regular follow up appointments throughout engagement with the service.
  • Pain clinics: Joint working and access to support and treatment options with Camden and Islington Pain Management Services. 
  • Specialist psychosocial support: Access to psychology, support groups, counselling, advice and information and health and wellbeing educational courses.
  • Insomnia Clinic: Referral to the Insomnia Clinic and access to their specialist treatment and support interventions.

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