Almost a year ago, Benzodiazepine Information Coalition launched a non-profit focused on harm from benzodiazepines, particularly their ability to injure those who were taking the drug exactly as instructed. It has been a busy year for a strictly volunteer-reliant organization, and we feel we have accomplished a lot:
We successfully put together a medical board that is aware of the potential for damage caused by these drugs.
We were invited to submit a 2 minute video about the harm and injuries caused by benzodiazepines to an annual psychiatry conference.
We have collaborated with Allen Frances for a blog about benzodiazepines.
We gained a new director, Dr. Christy Huff, a cardiologist who suffers her own benzodiazepine injury.
We are sending one of our board physicians to testify at the Massachusetts Benzodiazepine Bill.
In addition, we added a United Kingdom extension to our non-profit. The UK is ahead of the United States in recognizing benzodiazepine withdrawal and issues, even if imperfectly. The British Medical Association is concerned about how to handle benzodiazepines and withdrawal. They’ve had a lot of media coverage in the BCC and the Daily Mail and are debating the best solution to aiding those who are injured. They have had a successful petition for a public inquiry on benzodiazepines. It will be very exciting to see where the UK ends up with this.
Our latest initiative involves and requires full participation from the benzodiazepine injured community. For World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, we are asking everyone to submit an FDA report about their injury.
This initiative developed after speaking to the non-profit organization Public Citizen which has an especially successful track record for petitioning the FDA for labeling changes on dangerous drugs. Their success stems from their passion, the high caliber of their volunteers and employees, and their large access to funding. Public Citizen helps individuals and small groups to fight fights they are not be able to afford to take on on their own.
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day, Benzo Buddies and the various support groups are all participating. We are not getting enough of the FDA forms we need to move forward with this initiative. We need help. We need those injured by benzodiazepines to take the time to fill out the form. We have teams of people willing to help with this. If you need assistance with filling out the form please contact Dr. Christy Huff at [email protected] and assistance will be arranged.
The time to act is now. This problem has been going on for 60 years, and we can be the generation that stops it, but we need to come together and take action.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.