ADS has been raising awareness of the damaging and crippling effect of benzodiazepine addiction for the last decade. Since we began providing a dedicated addiction to prescription drug service in Oldham in 2005, we have consistently campaigned to highlight the long-term effects of being addicted to these drugs and subsequent harm they cause to individuals and their associated impact on friends and families. Working with our good friend Barry Haslam, Benzodiazepine campaigner and former chairman of Oldham TRANX, we have held many awareness events and taken our campaign to the centre of power, holding a number of meetings and events in Westminster.
Benzodiazepines are drugs prescribed for anxiety, sleeping issues and pain management, like back troubles, and whilst they can be an important first point of call for such issues, they are very addictive drugs, where you can find yourself addicted in as little as 4 weeks and dependent within 6 weeks. Once dependent on benzodiazepines the effects can be very severe, resulting in mood swings, headaches and a need for increased prescriptions. The withdrawal effects are even more debilitating (and dangerous without professional help), with lasting health consequences. The only way to avoid the all-encompassing effects of benzodiazepine addiction and consequent withdrawal issues, is for help to be provided by specialised services, like our flagship Oldham service. By working with GP surgeries, our trained staff work to slowly reduce individual’s benzodiazepine use, whilst utilising talking therapies to get to the root cause of problems, using techniques like stress management and acupuncture.
Unfortunately funding for these vital services is not universal, and in fact, almost non-existent. Raising awareness of this involuntary addiction is paramount to convincing local areas to commission these services – ADS will continue to campaign for such services and represent those in society that need vital interventions like this.
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day is a great way to bring this issue to the fore of public consciousness. We are proud to support World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day – representing those that have suffered through no fault of their own, and highlight the need for action.