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Correspondence with Health Minister Allan Rock

September 10, 2001

The following letter was received by a benzo sufferer in Canada in response to a small request that the Department of Health spend approximately $1.00 per doctor in Canada to inform them how to deal with a multi-million dollar problem - namely helping people whose lives have been ruined by the misprescription of benzodiazepine tranquillizers.

The Ministry of Health has a mandate to protect the health and safety of Canadians but has, over the years, kept the public in the dark with regard to the highly addictive nature of the most prescribed substance in Canada, a substance that is known among the detox industry to be harder to withdraw from than HEROIN.

Irresponsible !

The last time The Ministry of Health published anything of significance on this subject was way back in 1982 in a booklet called *The Effects of Tranquillization: Benzodiazepine Use In Canada* which warned doctors way back then of the dangers of prescribing benzos for more than a few weeks. 20 years has passed and the Department has not held doctors accountable nor have they shown leadership in addressing this very serious health epidemic which has destroyed hundreds of thousands of Canadians lives unnecessarily.

Irresponsible !

The brand new Ashton Manual on Benzodiazepines, (details here) is now in the hands of every G.P. in Saskatchewan and Alberta and every pharmacy in B.C. and Saskatchewan.

These distributions were funded, out of pocket by a benzodiazepine *addict* in full withdrawal, someone whose life has been ruined because the Ministry of Health refuses to warn people about and deal with one of Canada's most serious health issues.

Irresponsible !

Are they keeping things quiet to protect irresponsible doctors who don't bother to read drug company monographs? Is the Minister insensitive to the needs of Canadian citizens who desperately seek a solution to a health problem directly caused by ignorant doctors? Is it just another cover-up? How many hundreds of thousands of productive lives are ruined by the ministry's negligence? Why is it when offered the best solution available that the ministry won't spend a one single dollar per doctor to insure quality care in Canada. Canadians need to voice their dismay by writing letters to the media and the Minister to let them know of this negligence.

Has it come down to a scenario where prescription drug addicts need to show the government and medical professionals how to get people off benzodiazepines properly? Do they have to dig into their own pockets to provide the only real information on benzos to doctors?

Irresponsible !

Letter from Health Minister Allan Rock

Minister of Health         Ministre de la Santé

Honourable Alan Rock
Department of Health
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0K9
ph 613-947-5000
fax 613-947-4276
email minister@www.hc-sc.gc.ca

September 4, 2001

Dear Benzo Sufferer

Thank you for your correspondence of July 25, 2001, concerning funding to print The Heather Ashton Manual on How to Withdraw From Benzodiazepines.

I commend you for your efforts to facilitate the dissemination of this important information. Health Canada administers a number of funding programs that address a variety of health and social issues. These programs have been designed to ensure that projects meet specific community health needs and strengthen the capacity of communities and community-based organizations to respond to identified health problems and needs. Unfortunately, none of the programs administered by the Department provides funding for publications as described in your letter.

Again, thank you for your letter. I regret that my response could not be more favourable, but please accept my best wishes in securing funding for this worthwhile endeavour.

Yours very truly,

Allan Rock

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