The following facts are shocking. Being an ex-accountant I am always interested in figures (not to mention that prescribed benzodiazepine drug addiction has played such a major part in my life). The Home Office in the UK provides a yearly booklet on Statistics of the Misuse of Drugs, Deaths from Poisoning by Solid or Liquid Substances, Summary of Controlled Drug Deaths. Controlled drugs in the UK are put into Class A, (most dangerous) then Class B, then Class C.
The following figures are from 1990 to 1996 (except for 1994 where no death tables available ) for the United Kingdom. I collated them.
Class A Deaths
= 1,623 Deaths
Benzodiazepine Drugs ONLY = 1,810 Deaths
Therefore benzodiazepine drugs accounted for more deaths than ALL the so-called hard drugs put together.
From 1997 the Office for National Statistics (ONS) where responsible for compiling drug deaths statistics. The recorded figures for Class A drugs then rocketed compared to the previous data collected by the Home Office and Class C drug benzodiazepines declined. I find this extremely disturbing in that a new British government was elected in 1997 and suddenly deaths from benzodiazepines showed a marked decrease. Either new criteria was devised by the collecting agency or the results were fudged and a cover up was put in place in order to put a much greater emphasis on deaths by illicit substances, compared to deaths from a doctor prescribed drug. Granted that all drugs can me bought on the black market but the Home Office death statistics are such a contrast to those that followed by the ONS.
The problems of prescribed benzodiazepine drugs has been constantly ignored in Britain by successive governments for decades and likewise the medical profession. It is only now that the British Medical Association (BMA) are finally asking for submissions of evidence of the dangers of addiction, quantification of the scale of the problem and how best to tackle this iatrogenic epidemic to produce a report and submission to ministers. Government and their Advisors have had over 40 years to sort out this Pandora’s Box but they have been terrified of doing so.
Former Member of Parliament Mr Phil Woolas MP (Oldham East and Saddleworth ) summed up the situation perfectly in December 1999 at Westminster Hall, London, in a debate when he said
“The story of benzodiazepines is of awesome proportions and has been described as a national scandal. The impact is so large that it is too big for Governments, regulatory authorities and the pharmaceutical industry to address head on, so the scandal has been swept under the carpet.”
15 years later it is still under the same carpet.