Chrystal Heather Ashton DM, FRCP was Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England
One of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day’s objectives is to commemorate Dr. Heather Ashton for all that she has contributed to the benzodiazepine cause over so many decades. World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day is observed on July 11th, which is Dr. Ashton’s birthday.
Professor C Heather Ashton, DM, FRCP
Emeritus Professor of Psychopharmacology
Academic Psychiatry, Wolfson Research Centre,
Institute of Neuroscience, Newcastle University,
Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 5PL, England, UK
Professor Ashton was a graduate of the University of Oxford and obtained a First Class Honours Degree (BA) in Physiology in 1951. She qualified in Medicine (BM, BCh, MA) in 1954 and gained a postgraduate Doctor of Medicine (DM) in 1956. She qualified as MRCP (Member of the Royal College of Physicians, London) in 1958 and was elected FRCP (Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians, London) in 1975. She also became National Health Service Consultant in Clinical Psychopharmacology in 1975 and National Health Service Consultant in Psychiatry in 1994.
She has worked at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne as a researcher (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader, and Professor) and clinician since 1965, first in the Department of Pharmacology and latterly in the Department of Psychiatry. Her research has centered, and continues, on the effects of psychotropic drugs (nicotine, cannabis, benzodiazepines, antidepressants and others) on the brain and behavior in man. Her main clinical work was in running a benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic for 12 years from 1982-1994.
Prior to her death, she was involved with the North East Council for Addictions (NECA) of which she was former Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee. She was a patron of the Bristol & District Tranquilliser Project. She was a generic expert in the UK benzodiazepine litigation in the 1980s and has been involved with the UK organization Victims of Tranquillisers (VOT). She has submitted evidence about benzodiazepines to the House of Commons Health Select Committee.
Professor has published approximately 250 papers in professional journals, books, and chapters in books on psychotropic drugs of which over 50 concern benzodiazepines. She has given evidence to various Government committees on tobacco smoking, cannabis, and benzodiazepines and has given invited lectures on benzodiazepines in the UK, Australia, Sweden, Switzerland and other countries.