Well done Theresa and welcome back to the world. I lost 10 years of my life from 1976 to 1986 due to prescribed benzodiazepine drugs and I wish you well and a happy future. Sincerely, Barry.
Well done Theresa and welcome back to the world.
I lost 10 years of my life from 1976 to 1986 due to prescribed benzodiazepine drugs and I wish you well and a happy future.
Thanks for being the first to comment Bradford and good luck with your Clonazepam withdrawal.
World wide attention needs to be brought to governments and to the public, of these highly addictive set of drugs that lead to iatrogenic drug dependency.
W-BAD 11th of July 2016 and is to honour Professor C.Heather Ashton whose birthday this is.
A Happy Birthday Heather and God Bless You.
Barry Haslam. Chair of W-BAD.
My heartfelt thanks to yourself, John ( your father ) Geraldine and Richard and all attendees for your bravery and sincerity in telling your stories to the Committee. I know from my own experiences in giving testimony to UK Committees and live TV broadcasts the amount of individual courage and total honesty that is needed, in reliving past and present benzodiazepine drug dependence. It is daunting but the human spirit to stand up and passionately tell of the suffering that we have gone through drives us, in order to help those whose voices are not or cannot be heard.
The UK and the USA campaigners are raising public awareness of prescribed benzodiazepine drug dependence to a new level and one that Governments, cannot keep sweeping under the carpet. It is time for a spring cleaning and time that they stepped up to the plate.
We keep up the pressure for change and constructive action that is so vitally needed.
I have been watching the comments with interest and thank everyone for taking part.
When I finally withdrew myself from benzodiazepines on 19th of March 1986 after 15 months of hell on earth, I did not think that 30 years down the line, this issue of iatrogenic drug dependence would still be in it’s infancy in providing dedicated withdrawal services, and after care facilities with the necessary expertise for the many millions world wide.
We need to educate the uneducated, certainly the doctor’s and psychiatrists .
We need to stop the flow of new patients becoming benzodiazepine drug dependent patients by making
Guidelines mandatory and enforceable . With certain exceptions, such as end of life situations or emergencies. Certainly we need to stop long term prescribing of these highly addictive set of drugs.
We need 24 hour help lines, which have been agreed upon by the British Medical Association, subject to the necessary funding.
We need a network of local Peer Support Groups to be organised and set up by primary care facilities, with the direct involvement of ex drug dependent patients, in order that their acquired expertise can be fully utilized and also the assistance of compassionate nursing / therapists staff. Similar to Tranx Oldham.
We need more individual States to replicate the initiative of Mass. in putting forward a Bill to acknowledge the need for action and recognition of this public health scandal and to make government officials fully aware of the clear and present dangers that benzodiazepine drugs present to the USA, both in financial, health and humanitarian terms.
We need more world citizens to lobby their government representatives, to explain their stories and how these drugs have impacted upon them and their families and ask ” What can the government do for them ? ” We need to have our voices heard.
We need more world citizens to communicate with local radio networks and newspapers and to tell it ‘ as it is ‘. By doing just that, I embarrassed our local health authority in Oldham, England to provide a dedicated withdrawal service for Prescribed Drug Dependence including benzodiazepines. This service was started in 2005 and it is still current in 2016.
Individuals with passion can make a difference….. WE ALL CAN.
Thank you for caring.
J.Doe is absolutely correct, in that iatrogenic benzodiazepine drug dependency needs to be universally recognised in it’s own right.
After more than 50 years of over and miss- prescribing of the these highly dependent and dangerous drugs, the British Medical Association are finally waking up to their responsibilities on this issue and are desperately trying to seek a solution with interested Stakeholders. I have been publicly criticised by the BMA for calling this intervention ” Far too little and far too late “. I am however grateful that the BMA have finally stepped up to the plate and for that I am thankful but I stand by my criticism.
This lack of ‘official’ recognition for a public scandal that has been going on now for decades, ( a deliberately policy ) has meant that very few dedicated withdrawal services and after care facilities, with the necessary expertise, are currently available to effectively tackle this world pandemic of benzodiazepine drug dependency. This is a crime against humanity.
We have been and still are, being denied our human rights by Governments.
This quite deliberate policy of muddying the waters of using the words ‘addict, misusers and abusers’ by British Health Agencies going back many years has not only allowed them to fully avoid their responsibility and accountability but has led to prolonged dependency, physical and mental health problems, permanent damage and deaths. To a set of drugs which where only trialled for weeks by the manufacturers but have made many, many $billions for the pharmaceutical industry.
With clinical trials and assessments showing that long term usage of prescribed benzodiazepine drugs leads to an increased risk of developing brain damage, Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers. Then effective world government intervention is urgently needed, to protect innocent world citizens who took their medication purely on the advice and instructions of their doctors.
On the 19th of March 2016 I ‘celebrated’ 30 years of being benzo free but I am still suffering with their terrible legacy.
The 1988 Committee on Safety of Medicines Guidelines on benzodiazepine drugs which recommended they be prescribed for 2 to 4 weeks only has been breached with impunity by the medical profession.
My 10 year prescribed benzodiazepine dependent period from 1976 to 1986 has left me with a 10 year complete memory gap. No memories whatsoever.
2 subsequent MRI brain scans show that I have brain atrophy (shrinkage), fluid on the brain and narrowing of ventricles. I also suffer with neuropathic pain in right leg, underactive thyroid, B12 deficiency, chronic fatigue syndrome and daily chronic headaches, all this and I have been off benzodiazepines for 30 years come the 19th of March 2016.
I am still campaigning for world government action on these drugs.
The inaugural ‘World Benzo Day ‘ will be on the 11th of July 2016 and this date was picked to honour the tremendous work done on this issue by Professor C.Heather Ashton, as it is also her birthday.
A Press Release is due this month on ‘ World Benzo Day ‘.
Barry Haslam. Ex Chair, of Oldham Tranx. UK.
Well done Fiona and Ann. All your hard work, patience and diligence is starting to pay off. Your suffering has not been in vain.
Let us hope that the Scottish Parliament actually tackle this major public health scandal, unlike the English Parliament who have swept this issue under the carpet for decades and are terrified of opening this Pandora’s box of iatrogenic prescribed drug dependence. No dedicated withdrawal centres, no after care, no 24 hour help line. No recognition of the human suffering that these drugs cause.
David Cameron has ran away from accountability with his tail between his legs, along with the English Department of Health, calling the issue ‘local’.
If only, this is a national and international scandal of enormous consequences in human, social and financial terms.
Thank you for your kind words and I really appreciate them.
In my particular case when I was first prescribed 10 mgs daily of Ativan by my doctors in 1980 after a while the affects of this dosage on me, confused the doctors into thinking that my original breakdown symptoms had returned, so they then increased it to 20 mgs daily. Again this confused them even further so by 1985 I was being prescribed 30 mgs of Ativan daily and when my wife asked the prescribers about the very high dosage, they replied ” Barry, cannot over dose on these drugs.”
She then asked could we possibly be put in touch with someone else in the Practice on a similar dose ( at the time we obviously where in complete ignorance on the dangers of these drugs ) we then received a letter from the Practice referring us to their Lawyers. You could not make this up. All I ever did was to follow the instructions given to me by the doctors and took the drugs in good faith as to their clinical decision making.
I do realise that the term ” addict ” does upset many patients taking benzodiazepines who do not see themselves as addicts in the illegal sense of being an addict.
Within the House of Commons a All Party Political Group on Prescribed Drug Dependence has its 2nd meeting on the 24th of this month with a view to formulate a policy to present to the British Medical Association on this very issue, accompanied by several charities, in order to lobby the British Government to take appropriate action and to prepare a template to be used for a safe withdrawal procedure, so that everyone can be singing from the same hymn sheet in the UK. If you kindly want to email me I can let you have further details after the 24th.
I also look forward to reading Part 2 of your blog.
I was told by a UK government health minister and a politician that long term prescribed benzodiazepine drug addicts where ” misusers and abusers”. A deliberate attack on innocent patients by government officials and their senior advisors, to not only muddy the waters but to deflect criticism of their total lack of responsibility and accountability and to deny them dedicated withdrawal services for iatrogenic drug addiction.
It is governments, doctors and the pharmaceutical industry that has abused and misused patients and world citizens of their human rights.
A really excellent article and I look forward to reading Part 2.
Can I wish you all the very best on your way to recovery. I am in my 30th year after withdrawing myself in 1986 of 30 mgs of Ativan and 12 Opiate pain killers, both drugs prescribed on a daily basis by my ignorant doctors.
Life does get better albeit slowly in my case BUT the best thing I have ever done in life was to beat this combined addiction and to return to my wife and daughters.
Plus, it has given me 30 years of campaigning on the issue of iatrogenic drug addiction and to meet many wonderful, brave people.
The real culprits to be held accountable are Big Pharma and the necessary funding for treatment should be in the form of a 20% annual tax on Gross Profits, which would hit them in the place they hurt most…..their pockets.
A ‘sugar tax’ of 20% is being advocated to solve the problem of obesity…so why not the problem of prescribed benzodiazepine drug addiction.
You are perfectly right. Benzodiazepines turned me into a violent person who looked for fights and this was completely alien to my normal, quiet character. I was an Accountant and broke my right hand hitting a filing cabinet.
In the UK it is estimated that benzodiazepines are responsible for 100 deaths per annum due to road traffic accidents. Add this to the 300 deaths per annum due to benzo poisoning and since 1960, these drugs have accounted for over 20,000 lost lives and grieving families and loved ones.
The UK guidelines are for benzodiazepines to be prescribed for 2 to 4 weeks only and that includes tapering off. This should be amended to 1 to 2 weeks only.
Certainly the guidelines should be made mandatory on the prescribers and enforceable, in order to stop new prescribed addicts from being created.
In the UK benzodiazepine drugs are a controlled Class C drug and in my opinion they should be reclassified to A status, as they present a clear and present danger to patients and society.
I have spoken to Sandra and thanked her for her bravery for this interview and her family are very supportive.
We need more victims and survivors to speak out to media and spread the message on these highly addictive drugs.
Benzodiazepines where described as non addictive when they where UK marketed in the 1960s as is the current debate with SSRIs. Our UK Regulatory Authorities could not recognise addiction if it sat up and bit them on the butt.
Barry Haslam. Ativan drug survivor.
The British Medical Association are actually talking about ‘”taking action” on this issue which is a first. We have had masses of evidence over decades on the dangers of these drugs, certainly benzodiazepines and lots of false promises and empty words. So to finally hear “taking action ” is music to my ears after all this time of campaigning. It will not come overnight but it will be a huge step forward.
As you rightly say, withdrawing slowly is the best and safest way to come off these drugs and this needs to be in the mind set of the rehabs and detox units. As I have witnessed in the UK, a 3 week withdrawal has left patients damaged and disabled and to unnecessary suffering. Patients need to be withdrawn at a pace which they are comfortable with.
The tide in the UK is turning and I really hope the USA will follow suit.
Well done for your withdrawal from Suboxone and for having a supportive family, because I know that it helps enormously when battling through withdrawal. I too was one of the lucky ones in this respect.
I withdrew myself from benzodiazepines and opiate painkillers at the same time over a 15 month period and it was the best and hardest thing, that I have ever done in my life.
Good luck for the future and well done again.
I have campaigned in the UK for 30 years in order for our government and the doctors to accept responsibility and accountability for this massive public health scandal.
We need dedicated withdrawal services and after care facilities for those prescribed drug addicts who want to try and recover from their medically induced addiction.
We need a countrywide set up of peer support groups.
We need a 24 hour helpline.
We need to educate the doctors, psychiatrists and governments on the true dangers of prescribed drug addiction.
We need a 20% annual tax on the pharmaceutical industries annual turnover to fund the mess and suffering their drugs have caused to patients and society. Pay back time.
We need a national and international framework of best practice, both in prescribing and withdrawal schedules.
We need to stop new patients from becoming addicts by making guidelines mandatory on doctors and psychiatrists, in fact ALL prescribers.
We need the State to recognise the harm done by these drugs and to fund independent research into the long term damage that is caused by iatrogenic addiction.
We all need to fight back and have our voices heard because we the victims and survivors are the REAL EXPERTS by experience.
Benzodiazepine drug survivor and campaigner.
A superb article and hard hitting.
Benzodiazepines and Opiates are a deadly combination as you rightly point out. I am one of the fortunate ones who survived the daily equivalent of taking 15 mgs of Klonopin and 12 Opiate painkillers, again on a daily basis and all doctor prescribed.
I withdrew myself from these poisons on the 19th March 1986 , a date which my wife calls my second birthday, over a 15 month period and have campaigned for change and recognition of the issues involved for nearly 30 years.
Yes, I will be lobbying the Minister for Mental Health and I have already emailed the Shadow
Health Secretary on the issue of prescribed drug addiction in the UK. I think that we might have more success with this Labour Party who care more for humanity and the disabled, than any previous government that has been in power.
We need change. We need dedicated benzodiazepine drug withdrawal services funded in all Towns and Cities not only in the UK, but Europe and the USA based on the Professor C.Heather Ashton model of withdrawal and recovery.
Corporate greed and psychiatric babble must not be allowed to succeed, over humanity, compassion and common sense.
Thank you for your comments and statistics. Benzodiazepine deaths recording are probably the tip of the iceberg and the dangers vastly underplayed by the medical profession. That is before we bring in deaths from RTAs ie road traffic accidents due to impaired cognitive functioning.
Anything that we can do to break the chain of psychiatric oppression is welcome and much needed globally.
The CEPUK London Conference tomorrow 18th September entitled ” More harm than good, confronting the psychiatric medication epidemic ” is to be shown live on You Tube at 9.00 am and 2.00pm UK time.
Thank you for all those who are watching it and lets spread the message world wide.
WE are fighting back.
It is good people like you and many others, who care about humanity and what these highly addictive drugs have done and are still doing to patients lives. People do care.
CEPUK are holding a full day Conference in London tomorrow regarding psychiatric drugs and Bob Whittaker is one of the panellists. It is going out live and can be watched by everyone.
People do care and are fighting back by speaking up and telling the truth.
You are perfectly correct.
I have advocated an annual tax placed on Big Pharma in order to obtain the necessary funding for dedicated prescribed drug withdrawal services which would be part of a social contract.
It is time that Pharma put back into society, instead of always taking out, by increasing their P&L Account and Capital Reserves.
There has to be change.
I am very thankful to be still alive even though the drugs have left me with various physical injuries. As you rightly say they have been dished out like candy by doctors who have ignored the prescribing guidelines and the safety of patients.
In England alone we have 1.5 million long term prescribed benzodiazepine drug addicts left to rot by a government more interested in maintaining Pharma’s profits. A national scandal.
We fight on.
\I am humbled and thank you for your best wishes.
My wilderness is sought and found by going fishing and we take other members of the Group fishing too, as a means of relaxation and a complete contrast to their normal lives.
All fish caught are returned safely to the water.
Thank you for your kind words again and for sharing your story with others.
The drug companies cannot stop us from telling the truth or the fact that governments are terrified of
accountability and responsibility on this issue, so they deny dedicated withdrawal and after care facilities to iatrogenic addicts deliberately, to scale down the size of this massive global drug epidemic.
Here in Oldham we deal with reality and have tackled the problems involved since 2004.
I just wish that we could franchise this service and make it go global.
Thank you for your kind words B.
Thank you Alex. I am only a quiet person normally but my ‘acquired experiences’ due to these highly addictive drugs, has given me great inner strength, in order to tackle this huge public health scandal and to help others wherever I can do so.
This is a world epidemic and needs a world solution, in the meanwhile large trees grow from small acorns.
If anyone wants to contact me direct I am on [email protected] and can I thank all of you for your posts.
Good to hear from you. I like the idea of ‘Restorative Justice’ for Big Pharma.
I have advocated that the UK Government place an annual tax on Big Pharma based on turnover, in order to fully fund dedicated withdrawal services and after care facilities for those patients who want to withdraw themselves from these highly addictive prescribed drugs. Plus to fund a 24 hour national helpline for those patients seeking advice and support.
For far too long world governments have deliberately ignored the warnings of damage that these drugs cause to the individual and to society. It is now time for Pharma to fulfil
their part of a social contract between corporate entities and patients, who have become
‘consumer fodder’ to big business after ingesting chemical drugs, which where only ever
intended to be marketed for very short term prescribing and usage.
Thank you Engineer for your response.
Good people are fighting back against negligent doctors who for far too long have gone unchallenged and have drug damaged their patients, by over and mis prescribing mind altering drugs. Prescribing outside the guidelines. A ‘bad doc’ list would be a good start.
Can I thank you and everyone who attends the 4th of May meeting for your activism and voice, for those people still sedated, still addicted to these mind altering drugs, who have no voice of their own and need to be heard. The truth needs to be aired and heard.
As a fellow survivor from the United Kingdom, I say God Bless You.
Chair, Oldham Tranx.
Thank you B for your response. You are perfectly right.
The guidelines need to be made mandatory and enforceable by law because leaving enforcement to the medical profession will simply not work. Only mass suing of the prescribers and successful law suits will stop this global epidemic of prescribed benzodiazepine and z drug addiction. This malpractice has to be stopped.
I know what I am fighting for is right. In the early years of my campaigning before I had my laptop. I remember 1 incident when I was writing a letter to government in the early hours of the morning and Sue my wife said ” Why are you doing this, nobody else is campaigning like on this intense level.” She was crying.
My reply was ” I have to do it on the behalf of those who cannot do this because the drugs will not allow them
to, I am fighting for them and their families.”
Yes. I have found peace and fulfilment….thank you.
Big Pharma is a Goliath but Goliath was defeated by David. We are all ‘Davids’ if we fight back against this global injustice. Big Pharma has the money, we have goodness and justice on our side. The tide will turn.
Thank you B for your kind comments.
The 10 complete years of memory loss that I suffered where very traumatic to me and I have had to watch re runs of news tv programmes to see just what I missed during that period in my life. Those years that I missed aged 32 to 42 should have been very formative in my life but at least I survived to see my 3 grandchildren grow up. My eldest grandson lost his father when he was only 4 years old due to a motor bike accident, so I have taught him fishing and football. Now precious memories which I can recall.
Thank you for your comments. If you go to websites appgita.com and benzo.org.uk you can witness the fight at political level and individual level we have / are undertaking in the UK to fight back against those responsible for this man made epidemic of prescribed drug addiction. We can all make a difference and voice our collective concerns to the politicians, doctors, psychiatrists and the drug industry. Together we are an army.
Thank you for your comments.
Sorry to read about your mothers experiences and yourself on benzos. These so called ‘medicine’ has a lot to answer for. The Regulatory Authorities in the UK have destroyed the original licence applications presented to them in the 1960/70s by the drug manufacturers. So we have no hard evidence of submitted applications in order to prove the safety or efficacy of these particular drugs, which is very fortunate for the generic producers !!
In the UK we have had meetings with leading politicians on the issue of prescribed addiction but talk is cheap, we need government action and urgency to sort out this national scandal. The fight continues in the UK for recognition and accountability on iatrogenic addiction and the fight needs to be taken to the US government and its politicians. Big Pharma’s lobbying power is massive BUT so is the voice of ordinary, good people all over the world. We need to be heard on this issue.
Really glad that your hubby is nearly off the a/d and that he is feeling much better now. Give him my regards please.
Activism brings its own personal satisfaction as it did with me. I had so much anger inside me after I had withdrawn from the drugs towards the medical profession and the drugs industry. I could not sustain that level of anger so I directed it towards campaigning on behalf of others.
These drugs are mind altering and turned me into a Dr Jeckyll and Mr Hyde character completely alien to my natural quiet character.
I have asked Sue why did she stick by me when I had turned into another creature. Sue replied that she kept seeing the glimpses of the Barry that she had married, so it gave her hope to stick by me.
I am so glad and fortunate that she did.
Good luck with everything in the future to you, hubby and children.
Thank you for responding and your kind words.
I set out campaigning on a voyage of discovery and have met so many good and brave people in this world. It has been an honour to meet them. People have turned round to me and said” Barry, would you have changed the horrors that you have gone through because of iatrogenic addiction. My reply was no, I would not have changed a thing.” This experience has taught me the real values in life of marriage, family, decency and simple pleasures in life. Live in todays space and let the future take care of itself and be kind to others.
Good luck with your campaign to raise public awareness and dedicated withdrawal services for psych meds. It is certainly needed in the US and on a world wide basis. We have to fight back against this injustice. Let me know please if I can help.
Thank you for your kind words, it is appreciated.
Regarding doctors and morality. My previous doctors who prescribed me massive amounts of drugs actually destroyed my medical records when I was at the peak of my iatrogenic addiction. I have a 3 year gap in my medical records and no one can tell me why. I have forgiven the doctors but I can never forget. They know what they have done to me and my family BUT a much higher power will judge them and deal with them.
There is always hope please believe. On my campaigning travels I have had photographers saying to me ” Barry, this is a serious issue please stop smiling.” I smile every day after coming back to my true self and family. Life is good.
Thank you for your kind words. Sorry to read about your husband and I sincerely hope that he has withdrawn ok from the drugs. I started my local campaign by relating my drug ‘experiences’ to the local newspaper to put the dangers of benzos in the eyes and mind of the public and local health officials.
Oldham Tranx came a little later, perhaps peer support groups could be set up in the US in order to share their own experiences and help others through iatrogenic addiction.
The real ‘experts’ are those who have been in benzoland , survived and come through it. Doctors do not have the empathy or humility to learn from our prescribed addiction, certainly if the UK is anything to go by.
You are very welcome and I am so glad that I could help. Your comments have brought tears to my eyes and your bravery in telling your own story.
Take care of yourself and keep safe.
God Bless You,