Media articles and documentaries on benzodiazepines. 1985 to the present day.

Articles in the media from 1985 to the present day

And personal accounts

TV Documentaries

ITV, The Cook Report, 1988 – Ada vs Ativan

BBC Brass Tacks, Dangers of Benzodiazepines, 1987, Parts 1 and 2.

BBC Panorama, 2001 – The Tranquiliser Trap

Benzodiazepines linked to brain damage 30 years ago – Independent, 7 November 2010

The Benzodiazepine Medical Disaster, by Shane Kenny, former radio presenter, damaged by benzodiazepines.  Featuring Prof Sir Malcolm Vader and Prof Heather Ashton, leading UK experts on benzodiazepines.

“As prescribed” by Holly Hardman

Media articles

And more recent media exposure by some very brave individuals, willing to tell their stories to the press.

Neil Evans, Barbara Bell, Catherine Marshall and Jen Hider, driven to the brink of suicide, Daily Mail, 26 September 2017

Shane Kenny, driven to the brink of suicide, The Times, 9 October 2016

Fiona French “The hell of my prescription drug withdrawal”  BBC News,

29 June 2017

Personal Account, Sonja Styblo, 11 May 2017

An Open Letter: Ativan stole my only remission from terminal cancer. Lori Jean Heckenkamp, deceased.  published 5 June 2017

Fiona French, prescribed benzodiazepines for 40 years, 3.5 years in bed due to withdrawal.  Daily Mail, 22 May 2017.

Pamela Wilson robbed of 35 years of her life.   Daily Mail, 17 April 2017

An Open Letter: Cardiologist and Cancer Survivor Speaks on the Dangers of Benzodiazepines  Dr Laura Huff, 15 October 2016

Janet Waterton awarded £200,000 by her local NHS Trust, Claire Hanley attempted suicide more than once.  8 November 2016, Daily Mail

Clare Morgan. The Sunday Times, 2 October 2012

“These drugs took me to hell and back, and I lost everything, even my sanity.”

Ray Nimmo, valium addict wins payout of £40,000 – landmark victory against GPs – The Guardian, 23 June 2002

Independent article on professor in the employ of pharma.

In 2015, the British Medical Association published a report after gathering evidence from many stakeholders including victims.  It requested that the Department of Health set up a UK-wide helpline and specialist services for prescribed drug dependence.  The devolved administrations were also approached.

The current All Party Parliamentary Group on Prescribed Drug Dependence supports the BMA’s call for appropriate services.

The BMA and APPG have formally requested a Health Select Committee inquiry.  We, the victims, wish to see a full-scale public inquiry similar to the Hillsborough Disaster.  It is unknown how many victims there are or have been due to benzodiazepines.  We are kept hidden, behind closed doors, and although we strive for justice, it is very difficult when the victims are unwell and unable to mount a strategic and successful campaign.

The UK Department of Health continues to argue that there is sufficient evidence of demand for such services.  Instead funds are concentrated on drug and alcohol addiction.  Surely this is a deliberate policy to divert attention from the irresponsible behaviour of our prescribing doctors.   We know that benzodiazepine withdrawal is much worse than heroin withdrawal.

News Report – Xanax – More Addictive Than Heroin

When language is used to obscure the issue

Addiction and dependence are not synonymous.   Addiction services are totally inappropriate for patients dependent on prescription drugs.

And so research is now being conducted to satisfy the demands of the Department of Health.  Why is this necessary in 2017?  We, the victims, would contend there is ample evidence and if there isn’t why has no effort been made to gather it years ago?

Long-term benzodiazepine and Z-drugs use in the UK: a survey of general practice, James Davies, Todd C Rae, Luke Montagu

First reliable, evidence-based estimate of patients prescribed benzodiazepines for more than one year.   Why has it taken decades to even attempt to estimate the scale of the problem.

2017 Prescribed Drug Withdrawal Survey – Initial Findings

It was left to the sufferers to circulate this online survey in the support groups.  This is of course a very cheap way of conducting a research study.  No attempt was made to cast the net wider to GP surgeries, for example.  We suspect that the Department of Health is simply using delaying tactics by requesting that more evidence pf suffering be found.

We are a group of very sick people.  Most of us have had our lives devastated by benzodiazepines.  Some of us have lost 40 years. Younger people are now suffering needlessly.   Our doctors ignore us, tell us our symptoms have nothing to do with the drugs.  They prescribe more drugs and make us even more sick.  It is a complete waste of human lives.  We are now driven to setting up petitions, contacting the media, telling our stories to the press and writing to the medical journals. Yet, the Department of Health continues to ignore us.

Petition to Health Select Committee, UK Government – Inquiry Needed.

Petition to Scottish Parliament, Prescribed Drug Dependence.

Petition to National Assembly for Wales – Prescribed Drug Dependence and Support.

We hear very little from the medical community but some brave doctors are willing to speak out.  See e-letters for some victim responses.

Bad Medicine: The Medical Untouchables – GP, Dr Des Spence, Glasgow.

Some academic research is now being published on patient’s experiences.

Stories of Hell and Healing: Internet Users’ Construction of Benzodiazepine Distress and Withdrawal. Fixsen & Ridge 2017

And finally, it seems the new cover up is the labelling of patients with “Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms” and other misleading diagnostic labels, all with a psychiatric bias.  GPs are being encouraged to use such labels and to remain “agnostic about aetiology”, astonishing advice indeed.

Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms or Drug Side Effects /Withdrawal Symptoms?  GP View, 25 September 2017, Marion Brown  

Please also read comments to the article.


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