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Peer support
This service is free
What do we offer? 

The Benzodiazepine & Opiate Withdrawal Service (BOWS)

A service that provides specialist support for people in Camden and Islington who are being prescribed benzodiazepines, opiates, z-drugs (sleeping tablets) and gabapentinoids by their GP and are seeking additional support to reduce and/or stop their use.


Why should you reduce or stop these medications?

Long-term use of benzodiazepines, opiates, z-drugs and gabapentinoids can give rise to many unwanted side effects including poor concentration and impaired memory; anxiety and depression; hormonal changes; immune suppression and increased risk of falls and breathing problems.

With time, these medications often work less well for the original problem they were prescribed for such as pain and insomnia and people can become dependent on them. They can even increase pain levels. In addition, particularly in high doses and in combination with other medications, or in people with underlying health problems, they can be dangerous.


The benefits:

Clinical experience has shown that people often feel better coming off their medications and report an overall improvement in their mood and general wellbeing. If you have been on these medications for a long time you may well be advised to come off them gradually to reduce any withdrawal symptoms.

BOWS - what we offer:
  • A specialist assessment of medications with a doctor or specialist nurse
  • Regular support and advice in gradual reductions in medication
  • Access to our cbt for insomnia course (cbti) – a series of workshops for people with insomnia
  • Access to our weekly specialist support group


Who should use this service? 
Anyone who would like to address their long-term use of benzodiazepines, sleeping tablets or opiate pain killers
What is the referral process for this service? 
Please contact Helene Simonson, BOWS Service Manager on 02033176000 or email: for more information.
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