Addiction Today reports “Attention on illicit drugs has deflected focus from the gigantic scale of harms by legal, prescribed drugs. We give you the official figures for women admitted to hospital for drug poisonings.”
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at
More shocking to me than the few thousand people who were hospitalized is the figure of a million and a half in the UK who are addicted to benzos. This in a country with only about a fifth the population of the United States. That figure would be seven or eight million in the U.S.
I suspect that almost every person who gets discharged from a psych hospital, with their little brown bag of drugs, has at least one benzo in that bag. There was a benzo in my little bag of drugs. The expectation was that I would stay on the benzo indefinitely.
Was I ever once told about how addictive they are, or how difficult it is to get off of them? Absolutely not. I had to find out about benzos from an acquantance after I got out of the hospital. It’s a good thing that I didn’t have the money to get the prescription refilled or I might still be on the damned things.
I can remember an experience I had in the private psych hospital I was in before I was sent to the state hospital. One day I got upset and my blood pressure, which is very volatile anyway, shot up dangerously high. The nurse took my blood pressure and guess what she gave me to help it get back to normal? Not anything for blood pressure. She gave me a benzo! Go figure!