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As Prof. Ashton advises “the public, that is all of us, should keep up the pressure on the authorities and should publicise what we see and hear every day from patients and health care workers.”
Hi. I was reading your story and it nearly made me cry even though I am emotionally numb from benzodiazepines. I know how horrible and scary benzo withdraw is.
I am M from Nagasaki. I was on benzo for 10 years. First 2 years Doc put me benzo and paxil. 2 years later I stopped taking it and it caused me horrible symptoms but I didn't know it was withdrawal.
Docs misdiagnosed me and they put me 37 kinds of psych meds on and off in 10 years. I can't believe I am still alive because I was close to death many many times.
Now I am 7 months free from all meds and I still have very bad many symptoms. My brain is very foggy but I would love to do volunteer job for benzo victims if I can do something.
I really want to get back my life. I share your website on my face book wall. Thanks so much to the translators of the Ashton Manual including you for such a great job. I couldn't come off benzo without your work. I really appreciate you.
I am writing to you from new Zealand & there for will make this brief.I am in an impossible situation.I have been using drugs from the benzodiazapine family for approx 35 years.The drug I currently use is Clonazapam & I have been using 2/3 2mg tablets per day,upon requesting a slow countdown I was told(not included in any workable treatment plan)that I would be withdrawn over eight weeks.I had no input & factors such as my working life, my parenthood & family comittments were not discussed or considered.The agencies that exist in other regions in New Zealand view the approach adopted by my District Health Board as dangerous and contrevene best practice guidelines etc.I am very familiar with Professor Ashtons work & it was through e-mailing her that I was given you e-mail.Are you able to assist me in any way at all? I am trying to get a second opinion.My use of these drugs started as a result od P.T.S.D & severe anxiety attacks, bought on by (…)
Anything you can suggest would be much appreciated.Please excuse all the spelling mistakes,As the withdrawl has already commenced I am finding that my ability to concentrate,spell,etc is already becoming affected.
I better introduce myself, I'm XX from Ireland, I live in Sapporo Japan. I read about your case today and immediately wanted to get in touch. There's some info about my own treatment I would like to share with you but I'm not sure if you will get this mail. I also have a few questions with regards your recovery and how you're progressing. Twice I've been hit by the medical system with benzos, for lengthy periods of time, I really feel like it's destroyed my life. Can you let me know if you get this? Thanks.
I’ve been reading on the Internet on Benzo addiction for quite some time and noticed your post in the herald.
My father was prescribed Klonplin for Anxiety at .5 twice daily and at the moment he gets extremely exhausted in the heat after working outside has outbursts also his breathing has become shallow. This week the doctor is going to give us a tapper plan for getting off this drug.
He has currently been on this drug for 104 days. I believe all the side effects he is experiencing are from this drug. I was going to ask where in Auckland is a place where I can seek advice that you would vouch for.
At the current time, he is also on mirtazpine (remeron) for depression that was induced by this drug.
If you could give me a contact I would really appreciate it.
Thanks so much
Despite being a trained journalist, media consumer and observer of social issues surrounding drug use and regulation, the benzodiazepines issue was one I knew little of until hearing of Wayne's case. The more I have learnt, the more I can appreciate how this situation needs greater attention worldwide and nowhere more so than in Japan.
As someone who has also lived in Japan for several years, I understand how challenging it is to do what Wayne has done, taking his case step by step to the highest court in a foreign land and language, despite understanding the flaws in a justice system that is weighted, like most, towards maintaining powers vested in the status quo.
As former resident of Fukushima prefecture, I understand the challenging circumstances faced by people like Wayne who were uprooted from previous homes and livelihoods as a result of the events of March 11, 2011.
Despite the challenges, by working with leading experts to get information to Japan and beyond, Wayne has never wavered from his goal of helping unlock information to help those undergoing or at risk of benzodiazepine addiction that he himself experienced.
By sharing his story he is putting a face to the issue, which helps to destigmatize those who are the victims, but can instead be seen as weak and undignified addicts, a great hindrance to revealing the true extent of the problem especially in a culture such as that in Japan.
I admire greatly Wayne's tenacious work ethic in face of great challenges for the goal of bringing the benzodiazepine issue to the limelight to help others and wish him and this website all the success in the world.
Most of all, I share his hope that others may be spared the trials of benzo addiction. If you do the same, I would heartily recommend a donation to this most worthy cause.
Wayne represents a David vs Goliath struggle that he has steadfastly endured over many years. His powers of endurance and the ability to get up off the canvas after numerous setbacks to the point where he is today is an example to us all. As a result of his leadership others are now coming forward to share their stories. I fully support Wayne and his endeavours to raise the profile of prescription addictions.
I really appreciate your email. I'm currently involved in a lawsuit against GlaxoSmithKline and there are few people in the world that understand what a David vs Goliath legal battle is like. You certainly do if you took on the medical establishment in Japan, particularly without having a firm grip on the language.
Your personal tragic story is INCREDIBLE and your website is AMAZING. I'll share it with others. Your story with expert insight/support from e.g., Professor Ashton is very powerful. Congratulations!!!
My family tragedy goes back to 2004 but I set up my website (www.davidcarmichael.com) in 2006 after I decided to break my silence while in the forensic psychiatric system in Canada. It was a risk into uncharted public education waters that I now consider well worth taking. I received an absolute discharge in 2009 and now work for Dr. David Healy.
In case you haven't seen it, here's the link to a 10 min version of a 2007 national television show that was prompted by an email that I sent to the media in 2006. It provides a good overview of my story.
Keep raising awareness. You're saving lives!!!
Yesterday's meeting was emotional to say the least. It was historic and amazing to have that many Benzo victims in one room. But, interestingly, five Harvard doctors show out to speak in favor of the drugs and didn't want the bill passed.
One said they were the safest drugs you can prescribe! You could hear people in the room gasping and crying based on what they were saying. One girl who was so injured had to leave the room so she couldn't hear what they were saying. But when she got up and spoke after them, there wasn't a dry eye.
I'm so emotionally and physically drained from yesterday. The Committee was really good. One Representative on the panel actually fired back at the doctors and said “three years ago doctors were in hear saying how safe the opioids were and now we know how unsafe they are. We will find out the truth about these drugs too.” She was great. She wasn't taking any of the BS.
Your contact details have been passed to me by Professor David Healy. I have viewed your website and it is excellent. I count Professor Heather Ashton has a good friend and have worked with Heather for a good number of years now regarding prescribed benzodiazepine drug addiction. I have campaigned for the last 28 years after my doctor enforced addiction to Ativan in order to spread public awareness of the dangers that these particular set of drugs bring to the individual, family and society.
The link to our 23 minute video on You Tube filmed in December 2013 is below and please feel free to use it to do the most good. Between us we are fighting back against this man made epidemic of greed, negligence and human suffering caused by drugs which should have only been prescribed for 2 to 4 weeks only. (my case for 10 years ) and perpetuated by spineless global Governments.
Anything I can do to help Wayne just let me know and well done for fighting back against this injustice.
Chair, Oldham Tranx.
Hello, My name is XX. Nice to meet you, Mr. Douglas.
I am also a sufferer of psychiatric medication. I was impressed by your story and I am sorry for your experience.
I would like to help your translation project. I can translate some part of your website, so if you need my help, please let me know. I have experience of English-Japanese translation. I am alone and I don't have any job right now. Strangely my psychiatric experience are known by my neighborhood and I am discriminated by them.
Please let me tell you my story in brief.
I used to go to the American college about 10 years ago and then came back to my country. Since then, I couldn't go outside and withdrew from the society completely. Originally I have difficulty in adapting myself to Japanese society. So my parents force me to go to the psychiatric hospital and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Fortunately I could get away from the psychiatric hospital and I quit my drug 2 years and half ago so my condition is getting better day by day. But I still have a hard time because I am bullied by Japanese all the time.
I am considering to move out of Japan but I have no way to do that. Life is hell, sir, but your story encourage me a lot.
Anyway thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Sorry for my English and my English is American so a bit different from yours.
A few years ago I asked a small firm of Solicitors to take my personal experiences of involuntary treatment by Ativan prescribed addiction to the Court of Human Rights, in that I had been denied a family life and that i was tortured by my doctor and the drugs. Unfortunately it did not happen because of possible costs. The perpetrators of our suffering should be treated in a manner of ‘War Criminals’ and brought to justice no matter how long it takes for what they have put me and my family through, and the hundreds of thousands in this country who have suffered likewise.
Upon receiving the bad news that I had breast cancer and then after my mastectomy, I was told no spread to the nodes upon first observation…. then after the path report came back, the doc said she erred and some was in the main node, so I would have to go back into surgery to have the rest of the nodes removed and tested.
I was so upset in her office after hearing this news which was the complete opposite to what she had told us earlier. So, she calls my reg. GP doc and tells her that I must have “something” for my nerves.
My doc calls me in to see her. I was depressed and not sleeping well, so I thought maybe this would help me to sleep. She prescribed 5 mg. of Valium at night and 2.5 mg. during the day. I told her I was concerned about addiction to which she said there is no chance of addiction under 90 days at all. She told me that if I did NOT take this that I would be in a mental hospital in 2 weeks, and there they would make me take things whether I agreed to it or not. (Now I think that this was a threat)….. So I had the script filled and took it as prescribed thinking I could just quit if it disagreed w/ me. I was able to sleep a tad better, but not much. She kept telling me to give it a chance to really get into my system, etc.
Well, at two weeks in I started bumping into the walls, my vision was so blurry, the brain fog was so bad, and I had severe depression unlike any I had ever had. I thought I’d better do a little research on this and was appalled at what I found! (Beating myself up constantly that I did not do this research BEFORE taking the med!)
They were only recommended for 2 weeks continuous use!!!! I could not believe that she did not know that or knew it and did not care one. So, I emailed her and told her that I was going to have to get off it…. tried to do just that, but was already HOOKED in 2 weeks!
I could not bear the severe anxiety after cutting back! So, I am still on it now, having been tapering since July/2015. I am now on 1.9 at night and 1.2 during the day, having changed over to the liquid diazepam to titrate very slowly and more accurately.
This is absolutely the HARDEST thing I’ve ever done in my life. As slowly as I am going, it will take at least another year to be free of this valium and no tellings how long after that for my brain to heal. I just hope and pray that it is healing some along the way as I reduce. I have never experienced headaches and tinnitus plus everything else like I have while tapering. Needless to say, I will no longer be going to this doctor. I did find a psych NP who is prescribing the liquid and is okay w/ me reducing as slowly as I need to.
Thank you for reading all this. If you want to use my story, feel free to do so, but just do not include my name. Barry has been such a dear to help support me through this journey. Thanks for all you do in bringing awareness. There is so much work to be done, but there is no way I am up to it now….. while just trying to simply survive.
It seems you have a lot more evidence now, so if you were to have a retrial; you’d win, wouldn’t you?
Thank you for your message. Actually, there isn’t any new evidence. Everything that appears on my website has already been submitted to the courts. Also, unfortunately, the courts are not reliable…
Some Facebook Messages
I am proud of you. This is a brave thing to do.
You are a brave person! Though I have not had any problems with benzos, they transformed my depressive daughter into a very violent and psychotic patient. Psychiatrists never acknowledged that 5 years on rivotril could make a person that ill. 3 years of withdrawal and suffering, but all psychotic symptoms are away now. In Mexico, my country they prescribe rivotril as candy, I´m trying to raise awareness through educating doctors.
God bless you!
Thank you so much for going to such lengths to help raise awareness and advocate for those of us suffering from this hell.
I am really proud of you taking such big action. I just looked through your HP and it amazed me by the clear structure with rich information. I was not familiar with Benzos but now I can see it from several aspects such as social and medical. As you may know, I am currently doing volunteer work at WHO and getting to know more about medical and public health issues.
I have been corresponding with Wayne. I think it's wonderful what he is doing. God bless him. Wayne, I shared this message from you with the benzo group. Thank you again for fighting for us that physically can't. God bless you!
“I am furious as a Japanese about our administration system has serious problems. We need to speak out!!”
Proud of you for speaking for us all. I believe I am somewhat rapidly coming out of this.
Oh KUDOS!!!!! Good for you, Wayne! I was just thinking about that same thing this morning, about the ridiculous stigma attached to benzo addiction!! The public needs to be made aware that it's no one's fault that they become addicted to this evil class of medication! I will absolutely go to your website! And let me know if I can help you in any way! Thank you so much for being our voice!
Thank you for your courageous efforts - awareness is so lacking and this must change. Peace
My sweet grandson saw his psych today. OMG, she wants to start him on Klonopin. He's only 14 suffers from ADD. This is the first time she has seen him, and out comes the script pad. He's already on 2 antidepressants. So very sad…
I lost my lawsuit. They blamed it all on me and the drugs did no harm at all. I will appeal.
Please pray for C. who has been getting worse and now vision, all words letters, everything has run together, terrified. I am not doing well could use prayer too, too sick to explain…
Great site! Love how you put it all together with all the helpful information. I went through benzo withdrawal after 10 years of being prescribed and then my doctor told me to go cold turkey and that it was fine to do. It took me two years to be able to go out of my house and do minor things around my yard. It took 3 years to feel somewhat normal. I'm on my 4th year now - and still have cognitive problems. I was novelist before and wrote and published my first book in 2009. I am no way near where I was with my writing ability. I wish there was some sort of way to get compensation for all the years lost along with wages. Let me tell you, cold turkey is literally hell on earth.
Quote of the year
“Benzodiazepines have been prescribed for 55 YEARS, not minutes, not days, not weeks, not even 55 months, 55 YEARS... 55 fucking years of death, destruction of lives and brain damage... And you're going to tell me that ‘they’ DO NOT KNOW what these drugs are capable of? You're fucking kidding me right???!!!
Once you understand that these drugs are the most vile, disgusting, abhorrent stench of Pharma to ever come from the depths of hell, and that the FDA (that's right, THE FUCKING FDA) states that these drugs, are SAFE AND EFFECTIVE, you begin to slowly understand the depravity and insidiousness with which our government agencies conduct themselves...
There are literally thousands upon thousands of people on FB ALONE, desperately trying to taper these drugs, MILLIONS worldwide at any given time, with little to no help from our trusted ‘medical professionals’ who were very very quick to pass them out, but few have any clue about safe tapering protocols, and what can happen to people if these drugs are prescribed over any length of time...
It’s beyond disgusting, and more disturbing than you can possibly imagine, to first, be legally poisoned by your doctor, take YEARS (in my case) to figure out you’re in serious drug withdrawal bc NO DOCTOR EVER tells you that, spend YEARS tapering, and THEN see that this is happening to MILLIONS of others, yet NO ONE talks about this, NO ONE knows this is going on?????? For 55 FUCKING YEARS?!?!?! So, then I asked myself... ‘If they can get away with this, WTF else is going on???’ FTS... I'm moving to Mars...”
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Some parts of this website still have not been translated into Japanese. If anyone (native Japanese) would like to help on a volunteer basis, please contact mentioning the part you would like to translate. Thank you.
THE WRITING IS
ON THE WALL
for benzodiazepine use
Dr Andrew Byrne
Redfern NSW Australia
Benzodiazepine Dependence, 1997
“If any drug over time is going to just rob you of your identity [leading to] long, long term disaster, it has to be benzodiazepines.”
Dr John Marsden,
Institute of Psychiatry, London
November 1, 2007
“Benzos are responsible for more pain, unhappiness and damage than anything else in our society.”
Phil Woolas MP,
Deputy Leader of the House of Commons,
Oldham Chronicle, February 12, 2004
“The benzodiazepines are probably the most addictive drugs ever created and the vast army of enthusiastic doctors who prescribed these drugs by the tonne have created the world's largest drug addiction problem.”
The Drugs Myth, 1992
BLUNKETT ON BENZOS:
IT’S A NATIONAL SCANDAL!
David Blunkett, British MP
February 24, 1994
“If there's a pill, then pharmaceutical companies will find a disease for it.”
The Independent, April 17, 2002.
“To rely on the drug companies for unbiased evaluations of their products makes about as much sense as relying on beer companies to teach us about alcoholism.”
Marcia Angell MD
(Former) Executive Editor New England Journal of Medicine
“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin.”
“Withdrawal symptoms can last months or years in 15% of long-term users. In some people, chronic use has resulted in long-term, possibly permanent disability.”
Stevie Nicks Quote
“Klonopin (Clonazepam) is a horrible, dangerous drug.”
“Clearly, the aim of all involved in this sorry affair is the provision of justice for the victims of tranquillisers.”
“The website 'benzo.org.uk' is really outstanding.”
I included the quote in the top left corner of this site because many people thought I was crazy for pursuing my case.
However, my philosophy is we can either choose to do something, or choose to do nothing. The former gives way to hope for many people. The latter…? Whichever way, it’s all in our hands…
The Ashton Manual
The Ashton Manual contains expert advice on benzodiazepines and how to withdrawal written by world renowned expert Prof. Heather Ashton.
The withdrawal schedules provided in the manual are only intended as "general guides". Each person's experience of withdrawal is unique and the course of withdrawal depends on many factors.
Skeleton in the Closet
It seems the truths about the potential dangers of benzodiazepines are slowly coming out but with so many cases of prescription dependency worldwide there is clearly a long way to go.
Also, in my experience it appears as if dependency to prescription drugs leans toward a subject of taboo – almost as if society is succumbing to it.
However, is keeping these problems locked up in the closet going to help anyone or change anything?
At first it was difficult sharing my case and story online because it necessitated disclosing personal information, however, I felt the need to come out and help raise awareness outweighed this…
The Japan Times
Most surprising of all, the high court relied on the packaging produced by the pharmaceutical company to determine the dosage at which benzodiazepines could be deemed addictive.
“I don't feel like I lost, I feel like I won and the court failed,” he says. “It feels like they were protecting the doctors and failed to protect society.” "What I want to do is use my experience and the material generated through my case to provide a resource to others who are dependent or may become dependent."