What Is World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day?
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day was created to educate the public on the many long-term and short-term dangers of benzodiazepines. Though they can be used to treat anxiety disorders, benzodiazepines have the potential to cause addiction, depression, and cognitive impairment.
World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day has been held on July 11th for the past four years. It’s a day dedicated to informing the public on the risks associated with benzodiazepine abuse.
Prescribed benzodiazepines are used to treat an array of disorders. Many people take these medicines without fully understanding their side effects.
Some of these adverse effects include quickly developing physical dependence, severe withdrawal symptoms, and slowed mental cognition.
W-BAD aims to warn people of what can happen with the long-term use of benzodiazepines. This is done by participation through sharing stories, hosting events, or creating art.
Below we’ll explore what W-BAD is and how you can get more involved.
History Of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day
Benzodiazepine medication was introduced in 1960. Before benzodiazepines, barbiturates were used to treat anxiety and seizure disorders.
After the first benzodiazepine medicine hit the market, many others followed. These include Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam), and Valium (diazepam).
Referred to as “benzos,” these medications were frequently used to treat mental health disorders. However, research started to emerge on possible health issues.
Benzodiazepine dependence was high amongst patients. Furthermore, some found that tapering off from these medications was extremely discomforting.
In 1999, British physician and researcher Heather Ashton published a groundbreaking book called Ashton Manual.
Dr. Ashton found that benzodiazepines cause a withdrawal syndrome that is unlike other substances. She also found a high risk of benzodiazepine injury due to its potent nature.
This is why W-BAD was first observed on July 11th, 2016. Since that day, people whose lives have been affected by benzodiazepines have continued to observe the day every July.
Importance Of World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day
For years, patients have either been misprescribed, over-prescribed, or unaware of the ways benzodiazepines affect the brain and body.
Benzodiazepines are effective in treating disorders by attaching themselves to GABA receptors in the central nervous system and calming the body down.
However, benzodiazepines are ineffective over time. Continued abuse can bring motor impairment, worsened mental health disorders, and a higher risk of seizures.
Many who live in prescription drug abuse disorders misuse benzodiazepines. They may exhibit trouble with relationships, which is a sign of Xanax addiction, a commonly used benzodiazepine.
W-BAD wishes to bring global awareness about the risks of iatrogenic benzodiazepines, provide a safe space for conversation, and enact political and medicinal change.
How Can I Participate In World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day?
The worldbenzoday.org website describes many ways to get involved in W-BAD. There is a wide range of low- to high-impact activities that can fit anybody’s schedule and budget.
In today’s social media driven world, the easiest, quickest and cheapest way to get involved is by tagging #worldbenzoday on your Facebook page or recent YouTube upload.
Followers and subscribers of your accounts may further educate themselves on benzodiazepines and use the hashtag themselves.
Next to using social media outlets to promote, there are many other ways to participate.
These activities are suggested for those who may not have lots of time but still want to get involved.
Some low-impact activities are:
- telling someone when W-BAD is happening
- including the worldbenzo.org website in both in-person and online discussion
- posting W-BAD content on websites or forums where it usually isn’t
- educating yourself on the risks associated with the long-term use of benzodiazepines, then informing someone else
- sharing and promoting benzodiazepine literature
- wearing a W-BAD t-shirt or sharing W-BAD gifts
- informing clinicians, healthcare professionals, and medical workers that W-BAD is happening
- writing a letter to a local politician, medical worker, or doctor
- giving a doctor a copy of the Ashton Manual
- telling your local newspaper, radio, and TV station about W-BAD
- posting W-BAD posters around town (if allowed)
- creating a video testimonial and sharing it with W-BAD participants
- sharing your story online or in-person
- blogging about W-BAD and information regarding benzodiazepines
- participating in a podcast dedicated to W-BAD
There are high-impact activities for companies, organizations, or those who want to do more and have a bigger audience.
Some high-impact activities are:
- hosting a W-BAD event coupled with a potluck, picnic, or any other social gathering
- attending 12-step programs or other events and passing out W-BAD literature
- sponsoring W-BAD with a sporting event, such as a jog, run, hike, or marathon
- rallying outside Boards of Medicine, District Health Boards, or Health Ministries
- placing W-BAD or benzodiazepine literature in public places, such as libraries, hospitals, or detox facilities
- setting up campaign stations at local businesses that are willing to participate
- helping your state obtain official recognition of the W-BAD cause
- walking around the city and handing out W-BAD literature to whoever may be interested
Perhaps the most impactful way to participate is by sharing a story of benzodiazepine recovery.
This can include how addiction affected friends and family and how you were able to turn your life around. This may spark others in addiction to want to seek help.
Other Ways To Get Involved
There are other ways to spread the W-BAD message. Some get creative and make paintings, poems, or pieces of music that are related to benzodiazepine abuse or W-BAD.
Practicing safe drug disposal and being able to recognize prescription drug misuse is another way to participate in W-BAD.
Of the 4.8 million people who misused benzodiazepines in 2020, many abused prescription benzodiazepines.
Examples of prescription misuse are:
- buying or stealing someone else’s prescription
- selling a personal prescription
- taking a larger dose than instructed
- ingesting prescription in a way that is against a doctor’s approval, such as snorting or injecting
- continuing to use drugs even if the illness has subsided
You can also safely dispose of unwanted medications on Drug Take-Back Day or head to your local police department, pharmacy, or hospital and drop off old medications any day of the year.
Addiction Treatment In Massachusetts
If you or a loved one is ready to recover from substance abuse, our Massachusetts drug and alcohol rehab center is here to help.
At Spring Hill Recovery Center, we have various levels of care in the addiction treatment process. This includes detox, inpatient rehab, and outpatient programs.
Reach out to a specialist today to learn more.
Written by Spring Hill Editorial Team
©2023 Spring Hill Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved
This page does not provide medical advice.
- American Family Physician — Risks Associated With Long-Term Use Of Benzodiazepines https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2013/0815/p224.html
- Benzodiazepine Information Coalition — The Ashton Manual https://www.benzoinfo.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Ashton-Manual.pdf
- Medline Plus — Prescription Drug Misuse https://medlineplus.gov/prescriptiondrugmisuse.html