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Welcome to the birthplace of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day. To see the new official fully dedicated website, please visit: www.w-bad.org

 

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day

July 11, 2016

Official Webpage


Change Through Unity

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#WORLDBENZODAY

   


Check out the W-BAD YouTube Channel
(Home - W-BAD Videos - Contributions)

Official name

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD)


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When

11 July (Prof. Ashton’s birthday)

This date was designated in recognition of Prof. Ashton’s significant contributions to the benzodiazepine cause over so many decades, together with all of the help she has given to so many people around the world.


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Introduction

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD) seeks to raise awareness about iatrogenic (doctor induced) drug dependency. These drugs affect different people in different ways, but there is a large group of people worldwide, who suffer the most debilitating dependencies and withdrawals alone in the dark without any help or recognition, affecting individuals, families and greater society.

This problem has been allowed to spiral out of control for many decades due to inaction from regional health sectors and governing bodies. W-BAD seeks to bring this problem out of the dark to get help for those who so desperately need it, and to prevent this from happening to others, whilst reducing the risks and costs to greater society. W-BAD is held annually on July 11 worldwide in honour of Prof. Ashton for all that she has contributed to the cause.


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Mission Statement

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day seeks to raise global awareness about the severe problem of doctor induced benzodiazepine drug dependency that continues to affect millions of unsuspecting, innocent people worldwide; either directly or indirectly.

Our mission focuses on the problem of ordinary, everyday people being harmed by these drugs as a result of taking them ‘as prescribed’ usually for stress, anxiety, sleep etc. Despite recommendations and warnings, doctors often prescribe these drugs repeatedly for prolonged periods without giving proper informed consent regarding the risks or appropriate advice on withdrawal protocols.

Global governments have allowed the problem to quietly spiral out of control for decades creating a problem so large that there is no political will to address it. Consequently, millions of regular people are left to suffer needlessly in the dark, without any understanding or access to appropriate care and support. Worse yet, there is a lot of media that stigmatizes these people by misrepresenting the problem with words like “abuse, misuse, addicts” etc. Unfortunately, this tendency forces the problem further underground leaving others to fall victim at the hands of ill-informed doctors and ignorant politicians.

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day seeks to shift accountability back to where it belongs, while encouraging the establishment of stricter controls for the prevention of iatrogenic benzodiazepine dependency and the provision of specialized withdrawal facilities for those who so desperately need them. This is an opportunity for victims of failed medical and political establishments to come out and reclaim their lives, and make a unified effort in raising awareness and saying that: “This problem is urgent and it needs addressing now!”

Please see The Ashton Manual for appropriate protocols.


W-BAD does not seek to restrict access to these drugs for those who feel that they may benefit from them, nor does it seek to force anyone to stop or reduce against their own will.

W-BAD is not associated with illicit use or abuse which is a completely separate issue; although, doctors overprescribing these drugs can form a gateway to actual abuse, which consequently, can also be regarded as yet another form of iatrogenic (doctor induced) damages.


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Background: Why has W-BAD been made necessary?

Please see this section to find out a bit about why W-BAD has been made necessary.

Go to page


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Official Recognition

   


Resolutions hane been filed in: Massachusetts, Maryland State Houses giving official recognition to World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day.

Please see the US State Action page to see how you can achieve the same in your state.

Go to page


A motion was also put forward in the British Parliament on 29 June 2016 giving acknowledgment to World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (See motion).


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Objectives

  1. To gain governmental and medical recognition that “doctor induced benzodiazepine dependency” is a massive global problem that needs urgent addressing (these are innocent everyday people taking as prescribed – see mind your language).
  2. To raise public awareness about this decades old problem that has been continuously swept under the carpet by global governments.
  3. To encourage the establishment of a mandatory maximum prescribing period of no more than 4 weeks of regular use (based on the Committee on Safety of Medicines' 2-4 week prescribing guidelines), unless deemed absolutely necessary and accompanied by adequate informed consent about the risks of prolonged, repetitive exposure (NB: Patients already taking these drugs shouldn’t be forced to stop if they don’t want to – see The Ashton Manual).
  4. To encourage the establishment of ‘specialized’ withdrawal facilities for those who so desperately need them.
  5. To encourage the implementation of the much needed fully funded research to thoroughly investigate the long term health implications of prescribed benzodiazepines and z drugs.
  6. To encourage the provision of proper training for doctors and medical staff and to help them learn more about the serious implications of benzodiazepines.
  7. To provide victims with a sense of purpose and the opportunity to unify, so that they aren’t left alone in the dark, as has been the case for much too long.
  8. To give recognition to those who haven’t survived and to those who have been abandoned, left alone to suffer (to give them a voice).
  9. To commemorate Prof. Ashton for all that she has contributed to the cause over so many decades (July 11 is her birthday).

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Concept / Participation

The concept for W-BAD is really quite simple.

It's just a case of people coming together once a year on July 11th and raising awareness in whatever small way they can.

This day is primarily about: (1) Helping to raise awareness, (2) Commemorating Prof. Ashton, (3) Providing victims a sense of purpose.

Participation can be as simple as:

  • Telling any one person that July 11 is World Benzo Awareness Day.
  • Sharing something on the internet.
  • Putting a pamphlet in someone’s letter box, handing one out, leaving one on a bus seat or something...

I understand that many people are extremely sick, even confined to their beds, and may be unable to do anything at all, but for others, something as simple as any one of the above can also give victims a sense of purpose which in turn can have a healing effect.

This day belongs to everyone – it’s our day, and everyone is welcome to participate in whatever way they may wish... If everyone can do just a little something, I'm sure we can all make a huge difference...


 


Family

This day can also be about family, as in times like these, family can often be the only thing a person has. These drugs can also tear families apart. Some may have lost family members because of these drugs. Some may be discouraged by an apparent lack of understanding from certain family members. Then there are those who may not have family, or who feel alienated from their families altogether, yet they likely have ‘family’ within the victim support groups.

Whatever the case, the strain that these drugs can place on families is immense, so W-Bad also encourages people to use this day to develop appreciation and understanding among families. Most people will no doubt spend this day differently, but some ideas may include: having a ‘withdrawal-conscious’ meal together, posting a few pamphlets together, or making use of the W-BAD Store merchandise to have a game of cards together, or perhaps use this time just to simply say thank you...


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Activity suggestions

Below is a list of suggested activities to help observe this day. The suggestions appear in order of simplicity. Anything, no matter how small, can all make a difference.

  1. Simply liking the  W-BAD Facebook page
  2. Simply telling any one person when it’s World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day.
  3. Spreading the word by including the W-BAD website link (from 2017: w-bad.org) when posting comments in reply to related online newspaper articles.
  4. Posting something somewhere on the internet that isn’t usually associated with benzodiazepines (to reach those who wouldn’t otherwise know).
  5. RECOMMENDED: Sharing pamphlets (anywhere and everywhere).
  6. Wearing a W-BAD T-shirt / Sharing gifts from the W-BAD store (getting the word out).
  7. Telling a medical worker when it’s World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day.
  8. Writing a letter (local MP, politician, medical worker etc).
  9. Giving a doctor a copy of The Ashton Manual or something similar.
  10. Writing to the media (local newspaper, local radio or TV station) explaining World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day and why “being aware” is so important.
  11. Putting up posters.
  12. Rallying outside Health Ministries or District Health Boards.

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Focal points

  1. The problem is with the miss-management of the drugs (over / prolonged / poly – prescribing with no help for victims); not so much the drugs purely by themselves, which may benefit some people in some cases, when used for less than the recommended maximum of 2-4 weeks (Objectivity is more powerful than slander; although, there is no doubt good reason for it).
  2. This is not a question of “drug abuse” or “misuse” but of reckless prescribing and decades of propaganda, incompetence, and neglect.
  3. Trust in doctors and politicians has been shattered.
  4. Massive costs to all of society and the taxpayers (not only the sufferers) through unemployment, violent crimes, suicides, hospital cuing, domestic disharmony, accidents and of course the endless list goes on....

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Language Use

   



To be clear on what we are raising awareness about, please try to use the following language:

  • (Doctor / Treatment) induced (dependence / harm / injury) etc.
  • Iatrogenic / iatrogenesis
  • Prescribed drug dependence
  • As prescribed
  • Prescriptions
  • Benzodiazepines
  • Public / Society

And try to avoid words like:

  • Addiction / addicted / hooked
  • Addicts, users, abusers, etc
  • Misuse, abuse, use, etc
  • Clean / sober
  • Benzos (even this abbreviation has been bastardized in some media so need to be careful – BZ / BZD / BDZ are acceptable medical abbreviations)
  • (Our) Community (see below)

Understandably communities have been formed in the online support groups; however, viewed from an outside perspective this word can sound cultist and tends to create and ‘us’ and ‘them’ viewpoint resulting in further separation from society, which is exactly what we want to avoid, as misguided social stigma has caused enough of this already. When making information public, words like public message / public announcement etc. are preferable because this is a public issue aimed at all society and it effects every member of society collectively, whether it be directly or indirectly (See Effects on Us All).


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T-shirts

   

Basic Unisex T-shirt – Heather Sapphire



We would like to thank everyone who participated in the T-shirt campaign, which ended on May 30. We managed to raise $547.14, all of which was donated (as a personal donation) to “As Prescribed” - a documentary film in-the-making about benzodiazepine harms. Thank you again to everyone who made this a success!


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W-BAD Store


The W-BAD store is here!

 



If you missed out on the chance to get a W-BAD T-shirt during our (now closed) fundraiser, have no fear!

Open all year round, the W-BAD store has something for everyone. With such a wide variety of items to choose from (including everything from postal stamps to stylish outfits), most people’s budgets are accommodated for. We can now raise awareness at home, in the street, at the beach, at work – basically, anywhere and everywhere! (And in the case of the W-BAD boxers, who knows... the bedroom?)

See store details for more information / useful shopping tips, or go straight to a local store below, and start browsing the many items on display.

 

See Store Details

 


Come on in and take a look around!

Find your store location to shop now

North America:  USA (English)  /  Canada (English)

Europe:  UK  /  Deutschland  /  España  /  France  /  Portugal  /  Sverige  /  Nederland  /  Österreich  /  Schweiz (Deutsch)  /  Belgique (Français)

Asia / Pacific:  Australia  /  New Zealand  /  日本

Latin America:  Brasil


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Pamphlets (multiple languages)


Pamphlets in multiple languages are available to download here.
 


Download front Download back

Instructions for downloading:

  1. Click on the download buttons to display the 2 images (These will later form two sides of a single sheet of paper).
  2. Once displayed, right click on each of the images and select “Save Image As...”
  3. Download the 2 images.

Instructions for printing:

  1. Once downloaded, print the front on one side of a single sheet of A4 paper, then print the back on the opposite side of the same piece of paper (you will now have a double sided copy).

If printing in bulk, you may like to consider black and white to save on costs. Or, you may like to consider printing somewhere cheap like a local community service centre.


Pamphlets in Other Languages

French front French back

Japanese front Japanese back

Spanish front Spanish back

Danish front Danish back

Italian front Italian back

Serbian front Serbian back

German front German back

Dutch front Dutch back

Chinese front Chinese back


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W-BAD Info in Other languages

   



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Tribute to Prof. Ashton

   



Professor C. Heather Ashton, DM, FRCP is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psycho-pharmacology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

She has worked at the university as researcher (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor) and clinician since 1965, first in the Department of Pharmacology and latterly in the Department of Psychiatry. Her research has centred on the effects of psychotropic drugs (nicotine, cannabis, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and others) on the brain and behaviour in man.

Her main clinical work was in running a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic for 12 years from 1982 to 1994. Her humility to listen and learn from her patients in the clinic that she ran sets her apart from others who have worked in this particular field of knowledge. This approach saw her become one of the world’s leading authorities on this most serious of public health issues, and one of the most loved and respected.

She has published over 250 papers in professional journals, books and chapters in books on psychotropic drugs of which over 50 concern benzodiazepines. She has given evidence to various Government committees on benzodiazepines and has given invited lectures on the subject in the UK (Including Oldham − Thank you Heather...), Australia, Sweden, Switzerland, Canada and other countries.

Heather has done a great worldwide public service by writing “Benzodiazepines − How They Work & How to Withdraw” (also known as The Ashton Manual) − a protocol for the treatment of benzodiazepine withdrawal − based on medical research information from a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic.

The manual was first produced in 1999, revised in 2002 and supplemented in 2011. These Protocols have been translated into 11 languages and are ‘the bible,’ on this all-important world health pandemic of prescribed benzodiazepine drug dependence (IATROGENIC).

July 11th, 2016 is the launch date of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day. This date was designated on the birthday of Professor Chrystal Heather Ashton in recognition of her selfless contributions over many decades.

A unique, lovely lady whose kindness in giving her time to others, and generosity of spirit, has benefited countless individuals and their families worldwide, replacing darkness and despair with a sense of hope.

So, on behalf of the millions of iatrogenic sufferers and victims worldwide, I would like to take this opportunity to say a big ‘thank you’ on this special day. God Bless you Heather.

Barry Haslam. Ex. Chair, Oldham Tranx and dear friend.


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Letter to Doctors

   

Dr. Jennifer Leigh


Dear Doctor,

It is understood that many doctors are not properly educated about Benzodiazepines. Please allow me to arm you with some basic facts so you can better help your patients, and avoid litigation that may be happening soon in the USA due to benzo prescribing.

Read all


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Withdrawal can also be protracted lasting for months or years.You wouldn’t wish it on your worst enemy!


 

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is a severe illness. The patients were usually frightened, often in intense pain, and genuinely prostrated. The severity and duration of the illness are easily underestimated by medical and nursing staff, who tend to dismiss the symptoms as "neurotic." In fact, through no fault of their own, the patients suffer considerable physical as well as mental distress (See Benzodiazepine Withdrawal: An Unfinished Story).

 

 

Did You Know?

   


 

  1. Benzodiazepines (BZs) are the most widely prescribed drugs for anxiety, stress and sleep. Also prescribed for depression (see point 13 below), pain, muscle relaxation and much-much more...
  1. The Committee on Safety of Medicines and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK concluded in various statements (1988 and 1992) that benzodiazepines are unsuitable for long-term use and that they should in general be prescribed for periods of 2-4 weeks only (See The Ashton Manual).
  1. The evidence suggests that benzodiazepines are no longer effective after a few weeks or months of regular use, so when prescribed for regular use beyond this, the risks can outweigh any potential benefits.
  1. Experts say BZs can be more addictive than heroin. Prescribing beyond the recommended period can result in doctor induced dependency and associated injuries / damages.
  1. Withdrawal can be like hell lasting for months, or even many years (protracted withdrawal syndrome).
  1. When tolerance develops, “withdrawal” symptoms can appear even though the user continues to take the drug. Thus the symptoms suffered by many long-term users are a mixture of adverse effects of the drugs and “withdrawal” effects due to tolerance (See The Ashton Manual).
  1. Tolerance doesn’t always develop across all symptoms. Someone might develop tolerance to the hypnotic (promotion of sleep) effects but not to the anxiolytic (anxiety relief) effects, or they might develop tolerance to some symptoms of anxiety and not others. Tolerance to the various actions of benzodiazepines develops at variable rates and to different degrees (See The Ashton Manual).
  1. There is no minimum dose, for example tolerance and dependence have been observed after the regular use of 2.5-5mg of diazepam.
  1. Withdrawal is different for each individual and depends on many individual factors.
  1. BZs can cause the very symptoms they are intended to treat and withdrawal symptoms generally tend to consist of a mirror image of the drugs’ initial effects. Symptoms are often intensified and accompanied by the appearance of totally new symptoms that were not present before the treatment began (See The Ashton Manual. Also see how to identify tolerance and how to differentiate withdrawal symptoms from original symptoms based on a medical report from my litigation case).
  1. Withdrawal is not a smooth consistent process. Symptoms characteristically wax and wane, varying in severity and type with wave-like recurrences (See The Ashton Manual).
  1. BZs have different potencies which is important to consider when switching from one kind to another, reducing etc.
  1. BZs don’t mix well with other drugs, substances, alcohol etc. They have additive effects which can be lethal (See 2016 news). They can also potentiate the effects of some drugs. As Boston Medical Center epidemiologist, Traci Green, stated: “One opioid plus one benzo doesn't equal the effect of two in the individual... It's like one plus one equals four, or six.” (See article)
  1. Antibiotics can sometimes aggravate withdrawal symptoms and the quinolones actually displace BZs from their binding sites on GABA-receptors. These can precipitate acute withdrawal in people taking or tapering (See The Ashton Manual).
  1. In 1988 the Committee on Safety of Medicines in the UK recommended that “benzodiazepines should not be used alone to treat depression or anxiety associated with depression. Suicide may be precipitated in such patients”.
  1. Depressive symptoms are common both during long-term benzodiazepine use and in withdrawal (anti depressants also have problems – see SSRI Stories and Rxisk).
  1. If taking an antidepressant drug as well as a benzodiazepine it is best to complete the benzodiazepine withdrawal before starting to taper the antidepressant.
  1. In some cases, over prescribing of these types of drugs can form a gateway to actual abuse. When this happens, unsuspecting individuals are often punished twice. Firstly by the failings of the medical systems, and then by the judicial system, without the root cause ever being addressed.
  1. Recent studies associate prolonged BZ use with irreversible damages. (Also see The Ashton Manual Supplement).
  1. Repeated (incorrect) withdrawals can result in kindling, making each successive attempt more difficult, so a slow appropriate withdrawal from the outset is very important.
  1. It is not unusual to experience flashbacks and recurrences of apparent benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms years after a successful withdrawal and a return to normal health.
  1. Social costs include: unemployment, violent crime, suicides, hospital cuing, domestic disharmony, accidents and much-much more (See Effects on Us All).
  1. Experts have been lobbying governments for decades for stricter controls, but to no avail.
  1. There are an estimated 1.5 million people suffering from doctor induced BZ drug dependency in England alone (with antidepressants now a major problem) − the number worldwide must be staggering.
  1. It is dangerous to abruptly stop or quickly reduce these drugs.
  1. Anyone thinking about stopping should consult The Ashton Manual and their doctor. Beware that doctors may know very little at best, but their cooperation may be necessary. Please show them The Ashton Manual after reading it yourself.

Also consider this extract from The Ashton Manual:

“Facilities for benzodiazepine dependent people need to be developed. Detoxification units, dealing with dependence on alcohol and illicit drugs, are not appropriate for prescribed benzodiazepine users who have unwittingly become dependent through no fault of their own.

Such places usually withdraw the drugs too rapidly and apply rigid “contract” rules which are quite unsuitable for benzodiazepine patients struggling with withdrawal symptoms.

Much needed are clinics specialising in benzodiazepine withdrawal where clients can receive individualised, flexible, understanding and supportive counselling.”

Look no further than Luke Montagu’s story (CEP co-founder): “The first night Luke checked in, staff at the clinic took his clonazepam away...”


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Points of concern

Despite the above facts, countless ill-informed doctors worldwide are:

  1. Prescribing without giving proper informed consent.
  2. Prescribing without conducting a thorough risk versus benefit analysis.
  3. Prescribing without firstly exploring non-drug options.
  4. Prescribing off-label without understanding the risks.
  5. Prescribing well beyond the recommended 2-4 week prescribing period, which in many cases, is resulting in dependency.
  6. Multi-prescribing not understanding that benzodiazepines have additive effects with other drugs, substances and alcohol, which can cause severe side-effects and even death (See 2016 news).
  7. Unaware of just how highly dependency forming these drugs actually are; more-so than heroin.
  8. Unaware that withdrawal symptoms can occur during the treatment, whilst still taking the same dose, due to tolerance (This is often misdiagnosed as a worsening of the patient’s original condition or the development of another illness; resulting in the prescribing of yet more drugs and an overall compounding the problem).
  9. Unaware that withdrawal symptoms can last for months and often many years (protracted withdrawal syndrome). This too leads to misdiagnosing and the prescribing of yet more drugs, adding to the suffering of individuals.
  10. Unaware that BZs can cause the very symptoms they are intended to treat and withdrawal symptoms generally tend to consist of a mirror image of the drugs’ initial effects.
  11. Unaware that these drugs have horrendous withdrawal symptoms and need to be tapered slowly taking into consideration individual factors and the potencies of different benzodiazepines.
  12. Unaware that, because of the habit forming nature of these types of drugs, they can form a gateway to actual drug abuse; leading to an increase in recreational drug use and associated antisocial acts (Doctors are actually creating a massive drug problem for society and governments are standing idly by as it continues to worsen).
  13. Unaware of the intense suffering and harms caused to unsuspecting individuals, the effects on their families, jobs and indeed all society (See Effects on Us All).
  14. Unaware of the stigma attached to suffering from an involuntary drug dependency (doctor induced drug damages) which is made worse by misrepresentations in a lot of media reports.

Also consider: Many people who have been rendered dependent by their doctors (suffering from iatrogenic drug damages) are very afraid and are suffering alone in the dark. They have lost faith in medical systems which are centred on prescribing dangerous chemical drugs as the first line of treatment. Many people are desperate and have nowhere to turn. Many are committing suicide.

So, why is all this happening? (See Who’s Responsible?)


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Some inconsistencies in statistics, media, legislation

  • Statistics in the media tend to come from selective surveys. Many cases of doctor induced dependency are not reported (many doctors don’t know how to identify dependency and many patients don’t realize what is happening to them or why).
  • Existing reports on duration of withdrawal underestimate the problem because surveys are limited to short periods, progress of those who dropped out is not included, and cases of recurrence are not considered.
  • Unlike illegal drugs, Media tend not to make associations between prescription drugs and accidents.
  • Contrary to drink driving laws, people are prescribed these mind-altering drugs and are allowed to drive and operate machinery - even possess firearms.

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Message from organizers

People are free to give recognition to this day in their own way.

An initiative like this may take some time to catch on, but I’m sure it has the potential to gain momentum over successive years. There is ample talent among benzodiazepine victims, so let’s pool our resources and ideas, and raise some awareness.

All the best to everyone, and I hope that this day grows in its own way in its own time, and turns out to be something special.

Wayne Douglas


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Conception and Organization

World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day was conceived by the acting Chair Barry Halsam, former Chair of Oldham TRANX, and organized by Wayne Douglas, founder of benzo.case.com / benzo-case-japan.com


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Contacts

If you wish to get in contact regarding World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, please send an email to one of the following:


Volunteers


WorldBenzoAwarenessDay@gmail.com


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In Memory of Jim Dobbin

   



Please use this opportunity to pay tribute to the memory of British MP, the late Hon. James Dobbin, who sadly passed on 6th September 2014.

Jim’s story, including his tireless efforts in his work regarding safer controls, patients’ rights and care, can be read in this article published by The Conservative Woman magazine.

This is also a time to remember all those who have lost their lives as a result of doctor induced benzodiazepine dependency.


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Other psychotropic drugs

Although World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day focuses on benzodiazepines, let’s also be mindful of the high risks associated with other psychotropic drugs, such as opioid painkillers (See mortality stats) and antidepressants (See SSRI stories), as these too can have devastating consequences.

 


Hi Wayne,

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!!!

David


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Effects on Us All

 

Who's Next?


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Albert Einstein

   



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>>> PRESS RELEASE

   



See Press Release


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Byrne Quote

THE WRITING IS
ON THE WALL

for benzodiazepine use

Dr Andrew Byrne
Redfern NSW Australia
Benzodiazepine Dependence, 1997

About this Site

This website has been constructed by me personally for the purpose of raising awareness about doctor induced benzodiazepine drug dependency and litigation problems.

The purpose of this site does not include any form of retribution. Also, for privacy reasons the defendants’ names along with certain other names have been omitted from all public documentation contained herein.

There are no other persons / parties involved and it in no way represents any organization or activist type movements.

It is not intended as medical or legal advice – please see Disclaimer.

Read more

Marsden Quote

“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

News

See the latest in Global Benzo News.

Read News

Woolas Quote

“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

Cameron Quote

“Benzodiazepine addiction is a terrible affliction; these people are not drug addicts but they have become hooked on repeat prescriptions of tranquillisers.”

PM David Cameron
October 23, 2013

Coleman Quote

“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.”

Dr Vernon Coleman,

The Drugs Myth, 1992

Byrne Quote

THE WRITING IS
ON THE WALL

for benzodiazepine use

Dr Andrew Byrne
Redfern NSW Australia
Benzodiazepine Dependence, 1997

Marsden Quote

“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 Quote

BLUNKETT ON BENZOS:

IT’S A NATIONAL SCANDAL!

David Blunkett, British MP
February 24, 1994

Woolas Quote

“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

Laurance Quote

“If there's a pill, then pharmaceutical companies will find a disease for it.”

Jeremy Laurance,
The Independent, April 17, 2002.

Coleman Quote

“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.”

Dr Vernon Coleman,

The Drugs Myth, 1992

Angell Quote

“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

Lader Quote

“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin.”

Professor Malcolm H Lader
Institute of Psychiatry London
BBC Radio 4, Face The Facts
March 16, 1999

Blunkett Quote

BLUNKETT ON BENZOS:

IT’S A NATIONAL SCANDAL!

David Blunkett, British MP
February 24, 1994

Ashton Quote

“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.”

Professor C Heather Ashton
DM, FRCP,
Good Housekeeping, 2003

Angell Quote

“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

Boeteng Quote

“Clearly, the aim of all involved in this sorry affair is the provision of justice for the victims of tranquillisers.”

Paul Boeteng, British MP, 1994

Lader Quote

“It is more difficult to withdraw people from benzodiazepines than it is from heroin.”

Professor Malcolm H Lader
Institute of Psychiatry London
BBC Radio 4, Face The Facts
March 16, 1999

Ashton Quote

“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.”

Professor C Heather Ashton
DM, FRCP,
Good Housekeeping, 2003

Justice or Not?

This section focuses on some of the apparent injustices of the Japanese courts in my case. To help highlight these, some parts of this section include cross-referencing between the High Court Verdict and the Addiction Reports which were all based on the official evidence and the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for dependency.

See this Section

Boeteng Quote

“Clearly, the aim of all involved in this sorry affair is the provision of justice for the victims of tranquillisers.”

Paul Boeteng, British MP, 1994

Laurance Quote

“If there's a pill, then pharmaceutical companies will find a disease for it.”

Jeremy Laurance,
The Independent, April 17, 2002.

Stevie Nicks Quote

“Klonopin (Clonazepam) is a horrible, dangerous drug.”

Stevie Nicks

Slysz Quote

“The website 'benzo.org.uk' is really outstanding.”

Marcin Slysz,
Product Manager,
Roche Polska

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.

Read The Manual

Documentaries

See a variety of benzodiazepine related documentaries that may be of interest.

See this Section

Videos

This section shows a variety of other benzodiazepine related videos that may be of interest.

See this Section

Alarming

Cause for Alarm!

Consider this extract from:

A Review of David Healy's “The Psycho-pharmacologists III” by Professor Heather Ashton

How is it that the pharmaceutical industry has come to dominate the field?

Healy points out that drug companies “are now not simply confined to finding drugs for diseases. They have the power to all but find diseases to suit the drugs they have”.

Pierre Simon (Sanofi Pharmaceuticals) remarks: “In the beginning the pharmaceutical industry was run by chemists.

This was not so bad... Now most of them are run by people with MBAs... people who could be the chief executive of Renault, Volvo or anything.

They don't know anything about drugs.” The problem comes when a chemist presents an interesting drug to the financial analyst, who asks: “What is the market?”

The chemist has to decide for what indication the drug will be developed. If the indication is not there, it must be created.

Echoing Voices

Seems people are all saying the same things over and over…

  • I was like a zombie
  • It felt like I was in hell
  • It was much harder to come off benzodiazepines than anything else I'd ever had before
  • It took a chunk of my life away
  • It has destroyed my life
  • The doctor never told me they were addictive / The doctor told me they weren’t addictive
  • When I complained my condition was worsening the doctor prescribed me more...

Readers' Column

This page has been set up to give readers the opportunity to share their comments.

If you wish to send a message of your own please do so by sending an email through the contact page.

Alternatively, you can use the Benzo Case Japan facebook page.

See Readers' Column

No Escapism

It was difficult to get any relief from the ongoing symptoms

Unlike injuries where you may get some relief from adjusting your posture etc, with drug dependency in my case, the pain was both mental and physical and ran 24/7 regardless…

Tolerance

Did You Know?

Tolerance doesn’t always develop across all symptoms.

For example, someone might develop tolerance to the hypnotic (promotion of sleep) effects but not to the anxiolytic (anxiety relief) effects, or they might develop tolerance to some symptoms of anxiety and not others. Tolerance to the various actions of benzodiazepines develops at variable rates and to different degrees (See The Ashton Manual).

Fleetwood Mac

Stevie Nicks: Tell me Lies

Doctor: Benzodiazepines will help to calm you down and keep you from going back to coke…

"Singer Stevie Nicks has publicized the dangers of Klonopin (benzodiazepine) by describing her own detox from the prescription drug as "hellish" and worse than withdrawing from cocaine or heroin.

"Klonopin turned me into a zombie,” she told US Weekly in 2001.

Listen to Stevie’s story

Celebrities and Benzos

(Partial Reference: benzo.org.uk)

Journalists have regularly exposed the Benzodiazepine Scandal with stories of celebrity deaths attributed to benzo use as well as the blighted lives of ordinary people.

Benzodiazepines were, by all accounts, implicated in the deaths of:

  • Elvis Presley
  • Paula Yates
  • Michael Jackson
  • Heath Ledger
  • Brittany Murphy
  • Amy Winehouse
  • DJ AM (a.k.a. Adam Goldstein)
  • Anna Nicole Smith
  • Margaux Hemingway
  • Don Simpson
  • David Foster Wallace
  • Whitney Houston

I Will Always Love You

How anti-anxiety meds are killing celebrities

It used to be that hard drugs were the cause of celebrity overdoses…Of the celebrities who have overdosed on drugs in the past five years, eight appear to have taken prescription medications — specifically, a mix involving easily accessible anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazepines or “benzos.”

My Quote

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…

Individuality

Each one of us has a different experience of withdrawal.

The duration and degree of intensity can vary depending on the individual and there are many reasons for this.

See the Ashton Manual

Diazepam Conversions

Ever wonder why the diazepam conversion rates differ from source to source?

Addictive Medicine Specialist, Dr. Graeme Judson explains as follows:

“The rate used for converting Diazepam equivalents tends to differ from source to source. This is because individual variation in clinical responses to “equivalent” doses can vary so close monitoring of patient response to substitution is necessary when converting from one Benzodiazepine to another.”

Prescription Doses

Don’t think benzos are addictive on prescription doses?

Think again!

“Tolerance and dependence can develop if benzodiazepines are used regularly for longer than 2-4 weeks. There is no minimum dose, for example tolerance and dependence have been observed after the regular use of 2.5-5mg of diazepam.”

Professor Heather Ashton: Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England

Irony

What are benzos for again?

The only time I’ve ever needed to visit a psychologist in my life was AFTER (wrongfully) being prescribed benzodiazepines…

3-11

As someone who has experienced both doctor induced benzo dependency and the effects of the 3-11 disaster, I immediately became concerned about the overprescribing of prescription drugs to the many thousands of people in the disaster areas.

As it happened, I was writing my Supreme Court appeal in the midst of the disaster, so I took this opportunity to try and raise the alarm by including the following passage in my closing comments…

See this Section

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."

Read Article

Informed Consent

The informed consent argument formed an integral part of the case because it was needed to prove negligence.

Without negligence there would have been no accountability, and therefore, no case from the outset.

In section 4 of his fourth report, Addictive Medicine Specialist, Dr. Graeme Judson explained the principles of prescribing and informed consent in relation to my case and sample applied.

Monitoring

The monitoring argument also formed an integral part of the case because it too was needed to prove negligence.

As above, without negligence there would have been no accountability, and therefore, no case from the outset.

As with informed consent, in section 4 of his fourth report, Addictive Medicine Specialist, Dr. Graeme Judson explained the principles of prescribing and monitoring in relation to my case and sample applied.

Prof. Ashton Acquaintance

I first became acquainted with Prof. Ashton when my lawyer and I were desperately seeking literature stating that a patient can experience withdrawal symptoms even while still taking the drugs.

She subsequently provided this key information and later other useful information as well.

We maintained close contact ever since; making efforts to raise awareness about this massive social problem.

This work included the translation of The Ashton Manual in Japanese.

Loss & Damages

The amount of actual loss and damages in my case can be seen in the Official Loss and Damage Forms which are registered with the courts.

My Official Court Statement 2 may help give an idea of the nature of some of these damages.

Justice or Not?

This section focuses on some of the apparent injustices of the Japanese courts in my case. To help highlight these, some parts of this section include cross-referencing between the High Court Verdict and the Addiction Reports which were all based on the official evidence and the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for dependency.

See this Section

The purpose of this site does not include any form of retribution.
Also, for privacy reasons the defendants’ names along with certain other names have been omitted from all public documentation contained herein.
©2012 Benzo Case Japan Programming by Butter

Thank you to those who have kindly lent support. Your donations enable me to maintain my awareness raising activities, including organizing World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day. Please click here for donation options. Thank you!