What does W-BAD stand for?
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day (W-BAD)
What is W-BAD’s official motto?
“Change through unity”
What are W-BAD’s official logos?
W-BAD’s “Change Through Unity” symbol. The symbol highlights unifying everyone whose lives have been affected worldwide.
The W-BAD official logo.
What is W-BAD’s mission statement?
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day seeks to raise global awareness around the problem of iatrogenic (medical-induced) benzodiazepine physical dependence that continues to affect an enormous amount of unsuspecting, innocent people worldwide—either directly or indirectly.
Our mission focuses on the problem of ordinary, everyday people being harmed by these drugs as a result of taking them ‘as prescribed’ (exactly as directed by their prescriber)—usually for stress, anxiety, sleep, etc. Despite recommendations and warnings, doctors and other health care providers often prescribe these drugs repeatedly for prolonged periods without giving proper informed consent regarding the risks or appropriate advice on withdrawal protocols (please see “The Ashton Manual” for information on withdrawal protocols).
Global governments have allowed the problem to quietly spiral out of control for decades creating a problem so large that there is no political will to address it. Consequently, millions of regular people are left to suffer needlessly in the dark, without any understanding or access to appropriate care and support. Worse yet, there is a lot of media that stigmatizes these people by misrepresenting the problem with words like “abuse, misuse, addicts,” etc. Unfortunately, this tendency forces the problem further underground leaving others to fall victim at the hands of ill-informed medical providers and ignorant politicians.
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day seeks to shift accountability back to where it belongs while encouraging the establishment of stricter controls for the prevention of iatrogenic benzodiazepine dependency and the provision of specialized withdrawal facilities for those who so desperately need them. This is an opportunity for victims of failed medical and political establishments to come out and reclaim their lives; to make a unified effort in raising awareness, saying that—“this problem is urgent and it needs addressing now!”
W-BAD does not seek to restrict access to these drugs for those who feel that they may benefit from them, nor does it seek to force anyone to stop or reduce against their own will.
W-BAD is not associated with the illicit use or abuse of benzodiazepines which is a completely separate issue from iatrogenic physical dependence.
What are W-BAD’s Objectives?
- To gain governmental and medical recognition that ‘medical-induced (iatrogenic) benzodiazepine physical dependence’ is a massive global problem that needs urgent addressing (these are innocent everyday people taking benzodiazepines as prescribed).
- To raise worldwide and public awareness about this decades-old problem that has been continuously swept under the carpet by global governments.
- To encourage the establishment of a mandatory maximum prescribing period of no more than 4 weeks of regular use (based on the UK Committee on Safety of Medicines’ 2-4 week prescribing guidelines), unless deemed absolutely necessary and accompanied by adequate informed consent about the risks of prolonged, repetitive exposure. (Note: Patients already taking these drugs long-term as prescribed due to repeat prescription shouldn’t be forced to stop if they don’t want to—see The Ashton Manual).
- To encourage the establishment of ‘specialized’ iatrogenic dependence and withdrawal facilities and/or 24-hour helplines for those who so desperately need them.
- To encourage the implementation of the much-needed, fully-funded research (e.g., as discussed by the BMA) to thoroughly investigate the long-term health implications of prescribed benzodiazepines and Z-drugs.
- To encourage the provision of proper training for doctors and medical staff and to help them learn more about the serious implications of benzodiazepines.
- To provide victims with a sense of purpose and the opportunity to unify, so that they aren’t left alone in the dark—as has been the case for much too long.
- To give recognition and a voice to those who haven’t survived and to those who have been abandoned or left alone to suffer.
- To commemorate Dr. Heather Ashton for all that she has contributed to the cause over so many decades (July 11th is her birthday). If you are campaigning, please honor W-BAD’s mission and objectives in your activism and awareness efforts.
What does W-BAD want?
In a nutshell…
- Patients to receive informed consent (be it via a black box warning or a signed form prior to prescription) about the risks and dangers of taking benzodiazepines (dependence, tolerance, withdrawal, adverse effects) before starting the drugs as well as the risks and dangers of combining benzodiazepines with certain other drugs.
- New patients to be given short-term prescriptions only (unless there is a proven medical need/exception, which should be the rare minority), which are limited to 2-4 weeks (4 weeks should include the tapering off time), as well as informed consent prior to prescription (including that even short-term use does not negate all risks).
- Existing physically dependent patients to not be forced to come off the drugs abruptly against their will or at a taper rate that is faster than their body can tolerate.
- Support made available in the form of slow, patient-controlled tapering for already-dependent patients who do wish to taper off.
- Medical students and other prescribers to be required to be better-educated about recommended benzodiazepine prescribing practices, tapering practices, and the signs and symptoms of benzodiazepine tolerance/toxicity/interdose withdrawal/physical dependence/withdrawal/protracted withdrawal syndrome.
The following video (2:43) briefly details the wants and needs, or what W-BAD is campaigning for, in regards to the changes that are so badly needed to remedy the iatrogenic benzodiazepine problem that has been allowed to persist for decades:
Click on CC for captions in English. To contribute translations of this video in another language, click here.
We do not call for a “banning of benzodiazepines”. Such a banning of benzodiazepines would be unrealistic; there is nothing to replace them and they can be valuable for certain conditions in the short-term (e.g., seizure in a hospital setting, one-time use for flying or dental procedures, etc.). Not only that, calling for a “banning” would endanger those already iatrogenically-dependent patients who should be, in a ban situation, forced off of the drugs against their wishes—or faster than they can manage to come off in a patient-directed taper. We do, however, urge all medical providers and prescribers to get educated about the drugs and to listen to what their patients are saying.
- We want everyone to know how serious this is.
- We want it to stop happening.
- We want validation of our suffering.
- We want a name for this condition/syndrome.
- We want to no longer be victim-blamed or gaslighted for this very real condition.
- We don’t want to feel alone, disbelieved or abandoned any longer.
- We want people to be able to make informed decisions about their health and medications.
- We want to effect change.
- We are asking for research into this condition.
- We want better treatment options
- We want people to be offered safer alternatives before being medicated.
- We want answers.
- We hope for a cure.
- guidelines, which exist for a reason.
- We want accountability.
- We want no new long-term dependent patients.
- We want proper assistance and support for already-dependent patients.
- We want better regulations and warnings on these drugs.
- We want smaller-dose drugs available to assist in tapering ease.
- We want the damage that was done to us to be repaired/reversed.
- We want this problem to change before another sixty years passes and we’re still in the same place.
- We’d like an apology from the medical community for what has happened, and for allowing it to persist for so long.
- We don’t want anyone else to get sick.
- We don’t want anyone else to die.