Recommendations to Authorities
I produced this section with the help of:
In order to improve the situation several areas need to be addressed including:
- Preventative Measures / Education
- Addressing Current Problem
- Changing Attitudes
- Post Withdrawal Rehabilitation / Compensation
- Speaking Up
- Removing the Stigma
Each of these is outlined as follows.
1. Preventative Measures / Education
- Provision of compulsory education and training for doctors, pharmacists, clinical psychologists, psychiatrists etc. on benzodiazepines and other psychotropic drugs including information on their true addictiveness, untoward effects, withdrawal etc. and how to avoid / manage associated problems including addiction.
- Provision of training for doctors etc. in non-pharmacological treatments for anxiety management, stress-coping, cognitive behavioral therapy, sleep problems etc.
- Establishment and enforcement of stricter guidelines for drug package inserts produced by the pharmaceutical companies making sure they include the following information and explanations about benzodiazepines: Actual drug names, not only the brand names; Only recommended in general for 2-4 weeks as dependency / addiction can rapidly form; Don’t mix well with other drugs and in general only one should be taken at a time; There are many tens, if not hundreds, of adverse effects and withdrawal symptoms associated with long term use (more than 2~4 weeks) and provide a list of examples; A clear warning that it is dangerous to stop taking these drugs suddenly and the reasons why; Advice on how to withdraw from these drugs; Recommendations stating what signs to look out for and what to do when problems occur; Omit potentially misleading information.
- Establishment and enforcement of appropriate prescription guidelines and monitoring to ensure addiction / dependency and associated problems don’t occur.
- Provision of compulsory education in mainstream schooling so that people can learn about the importance of practical stress management techniques when confronted with life’s difficulties, the importance of supporting one another within communities, and the dangers associated with turning to psychotropic drugs.
2. Addressing Current Problem
- Implementation of thorough and comprehensive research to determine the extent of the damage that has already been caused as a result of decades of mismanagement.
- Establishment of specialist withdrawal clinics to help sufferers through the withdrawal process.
- Employment and training of counsellors on benzodiazepines who can visit medical providers and help patients in withdrawal etc. These counselors could be nurses, pharmacists, or anyone who has taken a qualification in counselling and has done some reading on the proper management of benzodiazepines and withdrawal.
3. Post Withdrawal Rehabilitation / Compensation
- Establishment of support organizations to help victims rehabilitate back into work, relationships and society.
- Provision of compensation to all victims to aid in the recovery process.
- Provision of greater expertise in the legal system to allow people access to fair and appropriate compensation.
- Implementation of independent research into long-term effects etc. and publication of findings to better understand the degree of unnecessary damage that is being done; both medically to individuals and socioeconomically to society as a whole.
Other Recommendations In General
5. Changing Attitudes
- Society needs to change its attitude towards the overreliance on drugs to fix life’s normal day to day problems. Instead more practical non-drug options should be better utilized encouraging people to make life style changes and adopt practical stress management techniques.
- Doctors need to relearn the art of listening to patients and explore more practical measures such as life style changes and adopt practical stress management techniques without always turning to the so-called quick fix as the preferred option.
- People need to return to a sense of community and support one another not allowing individuals to turn down the prescription pathway as their first port of call when troubles arise.
6. Speaking Up
I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to come out and speak up about their doctor induced drug addictions and associated losses and suffering. I fully understand how difficult this is, but problems cannot be addressed unless there is recognition that these problems exist and the degrees to which they exist.
Japanese people in particular have a cultural inhibition of “Gaman” or persevering / putting up. However, I cannot stress enough that this is the absolute worst thing you can do. What is happening is wrong and masses amounts of people are suffering in the dark.
There are several ways in which you can speak up including the media, internet websites and so on.
7. Removing the Stigma
In much of the media many reporters tend to use the unfortunate words “abuse”, “misuse”, “addicts” etc. when referring to patients or individuals.
Without being put into proper context, these types of words are stigmatizing many innocent people (otherwise normal everyday people) who were simply following their doctor’s orders.
Many of these people are suffering beyond all realms of imagination through no fault of their own.
Stigmatization is driving the problem underground creating the perfect environment for maintaining drug sales but this causing every one of us in society a great deal of damage; either directly or indirectly.
Therefore, people need to better understand what is causing these problems, remove the stigmatization, and contribute towards creating positive change in the way these situations are viewed and managed.
On This PageIntroduction1. Prevention / Education2. Addressing Current Problem3. Rehabilitation / Compensation4. Research5. Changing Attitudes6. Speaking Up7. Removing the Stigma
“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
“Clearly, the aim of all involved in this sorry affair is the provision of justice for the victims of tranquillisers.”
“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
BLUNKETT ON BENZOS:
IT’S A NATIONAL SCANDAL!
David Blunkett, British MP
February 24, 1994
“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.”