Author Tags: Health

North Vancouver-based author of Addiction by Prescription: One Woman's Triumph and Fight for Change (Key Porter Books, 2000). See info below.

[BCBW 2003] "Health"

Addiction by Prescription (Key Porter $29.95)

According to the world health organization, benzodiazepines are among the most frequently prescribed drugs on the planet. A report released in May 1999 entitled B.C. Provincial Profile of Women’s Health revealed that, in 1997, benzodiazepine prescriptions for such drugs as Ativan, Dalmane, Librium, Restoril, Rivotril, Serax and Valium surpassed all other Pharmacare prescriptions for women.

In Addiction by Prescription (Key Porter $29.95), former North Vancouver councillor Joan Gadsby claims the effects of prescribed benzodiazepines have been misdiagnosed as schizophrenia, manic-depression, cyclothymia, borderline psychosis, agitated depression, hysteria and just plain neurosis.

After Gadsby’s four-year-old son died of brain cancer on Christmas Day, 1966, Gadsby’s doctor prescribed tranquillizers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants. She claims by ‘blindly trusting’ her family doctor she suffered more than 20 years of debilitating addiction—and now she’s suing him.

“During my 23 years on drugs, even though I managed to maintain a successful career in politics and business, I was, on several occasions, arrested; put in restraints; sedated; jailed; and labelled bipolar, alcoholic and psychotic.”

Experts have suggested that Gadsby has imagined her ongoing drug withdrawal symptoms and that her criticism of the medical community has not been rational. Following her attempted suicide, Gadsby has formed the Benzodiazepine Call to Action Group and co-executive produced a television documentary. She says she has been free of tranquillizers and sleeping pills for ten years.

Her case is still before the courts. 1-55263-156-7