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Journal Pioneer,
(Prince Edward Island's Home Newspaper),
May 22, 2003
by Eric McCarthy

Joan Gadsby, second left, discusses the issue of addiction by prescriptiom with Dr. Charles Dewar, a physician in O'Leary, Phil Jost, CEO of West Prince Health, and Amy Gaudet, primary services co-ordinator in East and West Prince. Gadsby, an authority on the responsible use of benzodiazepines and anti-depressants, gave seven presentations last week on the topic and said she was encouraged by the attendance and the response.

WOODSTOCK - Addiction to prescription medications is a very serious issue which has been "sadly neglected for decades" Joan Gadsby commented Friday.

Gadsby is the author of the book Addiction by Prescription: One Woman's Fight for Change. She is also an international authority and public speaker on the informed use of tranquillizers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants.

Gadsby speaks from experience. After her four-year-old son died of a brain tumour in 1966 her family physician prescribed a chemical cocktail of tranquillizers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants.

Only after an unintentional overdose in 1990 almost claimed her life did she discover the side effects of the drugs and stopped taking them.

She has emerged from her addiction to become a health promotion and wellness consultant to corporations and a tireless advocate for systemic change and accountability of prescribed sedative and hypnotic drugs.

Last week Gadsby have her health promotion and wellness presentation on responsible prescribing and informed use to seven audiences across P.E.I., attracting large crowds of interested listeners.

Gadsby indicated the reception was encouraging. The B.C. resident suggested smaller communities seem to have a greater commitment to change. She commended Dr. Sheldon Cameron for his leadership in organizing the presentations and the health promotion partners who helped sponsor the presentations, including East and West Prince Women's Information Centre.

Cameron contacted Gadsby about giving talks on the subject after reading her book. She's glad he did because she believes the format used for her P.E.I. presentations could become the model for future presentations. Billions of dollars could be saved annually and the lives of hundreds of thousands of people could be improved greatly though responsible prescribing and informed use, she insisted.

Andy Lou Sumers, director of the East Prince Woman's Information Centre, and co-organiser of the provincewide health and wellness conference, Dr. Stevan Gressitt (Maine Benzodiazepine Group), guest speaker from Bangor, ME., Joan Gadsby, author of Addiction by Prescription and workshop presenter and Dr. Sheldon Cameron, representative of Prince County Addiction Auxiliary, share a lighter moment following a public presentation by Gadsby and Gressitt Thursday evening at the Loyalist Country Inn on the risks and consequences of prescription drug addictions. More than 200 people attended the Informative presentation and an Island support group is being organized as a result of the three-day conference to bring awareness about and work toward ending the cycle of addiction to prescription. Further workshops took place on Friday, May 23 in West Prince.

Joan Gadsby's Main Page · Joan Gadsby's Prescription Addiction Website

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