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Beat The Benzos Index Page

The Ivory Suite, Fairfield Hotel,
1 Landsdowne Road, Croydon,
London CR9 2BN England
1st & 2nd November, 2000

For more information contact:
Barry Haslam on 01457-876355

An international conference on benzodiazepine drugs, the first of its kind in the UK, will be held in Croydon on 1st & 2nd November 2000.

The aim of the two-day conference is to crack down on the use of benzodiazepines - with tougher controls on prescriptions - and to provide new evidence about the way their dangers have been covered up. There will be a call for a public enquiry into the lack of prescribing regulations and the lack of recognition for the damage that these drugs cause. There will also be a call for benzodiazepines to be reclassified from Class C to Class A ie in the same category as heroin, cocaine and morphine.

Among the speakers at the November event - which has the backing of Mr Phil Woolas MP - are Mr Charles Medawar of Social Audit Limited and Professor Heather Ashton of Newcastle University.

Both are recognised experts on the subject of benzodiazepine drugs, and Mr Medawar is an advocate of greater controls of antidepressant drugs. He said, "Dependence on benzodiazepines remains a huge and neglected problem - all the more serious because it could and would have been avoided if lessons had been learned from numerous other episodes of iatrogenic dependence over the previous 100 years or more.

"These lessons have yet to be learned, so today we see not only the continuing suffering of many benzodiazepine users, but a new epidemic of dependence on antidepressants in the making.

"The continuing problem of iatrogenic dependence is an indictment of the medical establishment's failure to listen to users. It is the inevitable result of a system of medicines’ control that is characterised by the abusive levels of secrecy, poor science and extensive conflicts of interest."

Other speakers from Canada, Australia, America, South Africa and Belgium are expected at the conference to be chaired by Phil Woolas. The MP became involved after one of his constituents, Mr Barry Haslam, contacted him to tell how he had conquered 10 years of addiction to benzodiazepines prescribed after a nervous breakdown - and the brain and health damage he suffered.

He said, "Benzodiazepine tranquillisers cause more death and destruction than heroin or cocaine. They are the iceberg of despair for millions. Official figures show that 17 million prescriptions were dispensed in the UK last year despite persistent medical advice regarding their dangers. I hope I can help to highlight the injustice suffered by people taking these drugs which have proved to be very addictive and harmful."

The Beat the Benzos conference will be held at the Fairfield Hotel in Croydon on the 1st and 2nd November, 2000 and is the official launch of the Beat the Benzos Campaign.

Benzodiazepines include the tranquillisers and sleeping pills: chlordiazepoxide (Librium), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), nitrazepam (Mogadon), oxazepam (Serax), temazepam (Restoril), clonazepam (Klonopin), and alprazolam (Xanax).


  1. To hold public hearings and inquiries into medically induced tranquilliser addiction.

  2. To lobby the Government to reclassify benzodiazepines as a Class A drug like heroin, cocaine and methadone.

  3. To secure financial compensation for personal injury through tranquilliser addiction.

  4. To secure financial support for patient withdrawal groups and residential treatment programs.

  5. To secure funding for research into long term damage caused by benzodiazepines.

  6. To urge the re-education for medical doctors.

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