The Sunday Telegraph reports that prescriptions for diazepam aka Valium are rising dramatically. The benzodiazepine family of drugs, which includes Valium, are extremely addictive yet were heavily over-prescribed in the 1970s, and have destroyed the lives of millions of people, mainly women. Were it not for Esther Rantzen and her investigative television programme “That’s Life” this horrifying damage to innocent people would have continued to escalate, as the drug companies assured their medical dupes that the dreadful symptoms their patients were suffering were not caused by the drugs, but by the putative underlying illness. See the article in The Independent of 31 October 2009 where we read that:
"In 1980, an item on Esther Rantzen’s BBC TV programme “That’s Life” detailing the difficulty some people had withrawing from Valium, provoked the biggest response in the programme’s history, exposing a problem on a huge scale that had gone unnoticed by doctors. GPs had until then assumed, when patients complained of symptoms of withdrawal, that this was the anxiety returning - and prescribed more drugs. “That’s life” was later celebrated as the TV programme that changed the course of medicine.
In 1988, doctors were warned by the Committee on Safety of Medicines that prescriptions for the benzodiazepines should be limited to a maximum of four weeks . The warning was re-iterated by Sir Liam Donaldson, the Government’s Chief Medical Officer in 2004."
That irresponsible GPs are adding to the already huge numbers of innocent victims of these harmful drugs is hard to credit. Their freedom to prescribe these drugs should be curbed by Law and there should be severe sanctions against any further flouting of the guidelines about it.
In my informed opinion, prescription drugs cause most of the avoidable illness and disability in the UK and in the USA.