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Joan E. Gadsby's Main Page


May 2001

Addiction by Prescription


Now in Paper!


In 1966 Joan Gadsby's four-year-old son died of a brain tumour. In response, her trusted family physician prescribed a "chemical cocktail" of tranquilizers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants – an act that initiated Gadsby's slow descent into an abyss of unrecognized addiction.

Over the next 20 years, Gadsby's career, her family relationships, her financial security and her health were all threatened by her "addiction by prescription". She was on various occasions arrested, restrained, and sedated as a result of the paradoxical side effects of the drugs. It was only after she unintentionally overdosed in 1990 and almost lost her life that she found out the insidious effects of the drugs, stopped taking them and went through the "hell" of withdrawal – alone.

Gadsby has emerged from her addiction to become a tireless advocate for systemic change and accountability of prescribed sedative/hypnotic drugs. She has interviewed thousands – from consumers to doctors to pharmaceutical representatives and government officials as she conducted extensive international research – in her quest to expose the shocking truth of the depth and breadth of addiction by prescription which affects hundreds of thousands of men and women worldwide.

Not since I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can which became an international bestseller in 1979 has a book so powerfully addressed prescription drug addiction and its devastation of people's lives. In addition, this book offers a powerful "call to action" with concrete proposals for resolving these complex issues.

About the Author

JOAN E. GADSBY is President of Market-Media International Corp. and lives in North Vancouver, BC. A former marketing executive with four of Canada's largest companies, she was an elected poll-topping Councillor for 13 years. Drug-free for over ten years, Gadsby's quality of life has improved tenfold. In 1994 she was selected as one of Canada's notable women by the Canadian University Womens' Club. With Jack McGaw, former executive producer of W5, Gadsby produced the television documentary Our Pill Epidemic, the shocking story of a society hooked on drugs, which first aired nationally in 1998 and is available on video. (Orders can be placed by calling 1-800-471-5628)

An internationally recognized expert and public speaker on the responsible and informed use of tranquilizers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants, Joan Gadsby is vice-president of the International Benzodiazepine Awareness Network (BAN) which can be found at www.benzo.org.uk. She is also Project Leader/Consultant for a multi-stakeholder strategic action plan and awareness campaign to address the issue.

"A harrowing, cautionary tale... about how over-prescription of tranquilizing drugs by doctors almost ruined the professional and personal life of one highly competent career woman". – Doris Anderson, feminist, activist and author of The Rebel Daughter

"...a must read for anybody who has ever taken or considered taking a prescription sleeping pill for more than 1 to 2 weeks. It is also essential reading for those of us who prescribe or dispense these pills."
– James M.Wright MD, PhD, FRCP(C), Associate Professor, Depts of Pharmacology & Therapeutics and Medicine, UBC

"This book is a masterful, lucid and cogent account of the causes and horrific consequences of benzodiazepine dependency."
Dr. Reg Peart, Victims of Tranquillisers, England

Addiction by Prescription

  • by Joan Gadsby
  • 6 x 9, 304 pp.
  • May 2001


For a review copy of Addiction by Prescription or Our Pill Epidemic or to arrange an interview with Joan Gadsby, please contact Alyssa Stuart at 416-862-7777 X229. Joan Gadsby will be available for media interviews on the following dates:

May 14-15 Ottawa
May 16-23 Toronto, Hamilton, St. Catharine's, London

For more information contact:
Alyssa Stuart, Key Porter Books
Tel 416-862-7777 X229
Email: astuart@key porter.com

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