VOT (Victims of
Flat 9, Vale Lodge, Vale Road,
Bournemouth, BH1 3SY,
England, United Kingdom
Telephone / Fax : 01202-311689
Dr RF Peart, BSc, PhD
[WDDTY 1997] The scandal of the benzo babies---Margaret Bell of Research for Victims of Tranquillizers
OBJECTIVES AND ACTIVITIES
TO PROMOTE: the awareness of side effects, adverse reactions and dependence caused by tranquillisers and other psychoactive drugs.
TO PROVIDE: help, support and information to those who have suffered medical and legal problems resulting from these drugs.
VOT was formed after a meeting in Bristol in the summer of 1992. This meeting was organized by Battle Against Tranquillisers in response to many complaints about the English Benzodiazepine Litigation; in particular the lack of knowledge and understanding of benzodiazepine dependency shown by members of the medical and legal professions.
VOT's initial objective was the collection and dissemination of information to factions of this litigation.
Addiction to Benzodiazepine Tranquillisers is a widespread and increasing problem throughout the UK and EU. The prescribing of sedative hypnotic drugs in England has been increasing again in recent years, 15.8 to 16.3 million prescriptions from 1995 to 1998. Diazepam use has increased from 3.1 - 4.0 million (1991 - 1998) and for Zopiclone 0.1 - 2.1 million (1995 - 1998). Benzodiazepines are addictive, powerful and toxic drugs. Valium, Mogadon, Temazepam and Ativan are still widely prescribed and misunderstood by the medical profession. No agency is tackling the problem despite authoritative pronouncements by The World Health Organisation, the Committee on Safety of Medicines (UK) and many other authorities. Our organisation, Victims of Tranquillisers, has reached the limit of its capacity to operate without funding.
We believe that insufficient and incorrect information are major factors in the creation of drug dependency problems. Our activities are based on our large medico-legal archive in Bournemouth. We aim to improve that archive on the one hand by further research and at the same time continue to disseminate that information at all levels. Our archive is based on research from the British Library, The Royal Pharmaceutical Library, the WHO-UN Library, the Library of Congress USA, Food and Drug Administration records, the Home Office Department of Health and Medicines Control Agency records, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and the Institute for the Study of Drug Dependence.
Our activities include:
Promotional materials to aid education concerning dependence and its consequences.
Lobbying and informing Parliament to increase the recognition of the dangers of medically prescribed drugs. We have prepared information for Parliamentary Questions, Early Day Motions (EDMs) and debates in the House of Commons.
Supporting individuals detoxing and withdrawing from benzodiazepines.
Supporting 'support groups' such as the Oldham Tranquilliser Project.
Seeking justice for those whose lives have been ruined by benzodiazepines.
To update the medical profession on drug problems and challenge the misinformation disseminated by the pharmaceutical industry.
We have prepared and presented evidence for:
House of Commons Health Select Committee Inquiry 1999.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman.
Complaints against doctors, psychiatrists and health authorities.
DLA and other benefit tribunals.
Solicitors handling medical negligence and 'drug rape' cases.
European Court of Human Rights petition prepared by members.
Matters arising from main 'benzodiazepine litigation'.
We provide information to:
Local drug and alcohol agencies.
Mind, the Mental Health Foundation.
The joint Home Office / Metropolitan Police investigation into the 'date rape' benzodiazepine Rohypnol.
University students for dissertation and theses.
We provide several nationwide help lines for victims of tranquillisers and a contact service which fosters local support groups.
We have internet activities including preparation for a web site.
We are developing contacts throughout Europe with like-minded groups in Norway, Sweden (VOT), Germany and Scotland (VOT) and with individuals in Holland, Belgium and Spain.
We had a high quality newsletter now defunct due to lack of finance, similarly our information sheet service.
We are dealing with addiction that is largely created by and sustained by the medical profession and the pharmaceutical industry. Our work is demand led and we are inundated with requests for information at all levels. Our workers are all unemployed former involuntary addicts who, so far, have worked unpaid. We have so far financed our organisation from our own DSS payments and by small donations from users.
List of MEPs who have expressed support in the last 2 to 3 years:
- Ken Collins (Chair of Economic, Health and Consumer Affairs)
- Glynn Ford
- Roy Perry (Petitions Committee)
- Graham Watson
- Robin Teverson
- John Corrie
- David Bowe
- David Hallam
- Lyndon Harrison
- Richard Ballfe
- Wayne David
Dr Reg Peart, BSc, PhD
He studied at The University of Reading where he was awarded a BSc (Special) in Physics and a PhD in Atomic Physics.
He has held various appointments in academic and industrial research establishments including The Atomic Energy Research Establishment (AERE) Harwell, Associate Professor at The University of Illinois and Manager of the Radioisotope Laboratory at the world renown IBM T.J. Watson Research Center in New York.
He has published many papers in Atomic Physics, Metal Physics and Semiconductor Physics and is a member of The New York Academy of Science.
Subsequent to being prescribed Valium for vertigo, he suffered many years of misprescribing, misdiagnosis and mistreatment including over 30 sessions of ECT, many while in *cold turkey* Valium withdrawals. He finally became unemployed and unemployable with severe cognitive impairment and other long term damage. He was rejected and neglected by all the doctors he approached for treatment.
During his years of very slow recovery he became involved in voluntary work with addicts of various kinds. In 1992 he helped form Victims of Tranquillisers (VOT) and was responsible for leading a group of litigants consisting of persons from the foiled Benzodiazepine Litigation through to The European Court of Human Rights where the UK Government is being sued for the denial of the right to a fair trial.
He currently spends most of his time working as The National Coordinator and Activist for VOT.