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HOT TOPICS: Drug and Alcohol Treatment  Heroin

UK Docs Sued by Benzo Patients

A flood of legal cases from tranquilizer addicts is anticipated.

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Too quick on the draw? Thinkstock

By Valerie Tejeda

12/29/11

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UK Doctors are increasingly being sued for creating “valium addicts” through "indefensible" long-term prescribing of benzodiazepines. Affected patients are regularly taking legal action, claiming that their doctors fail to follow safety guidelines set over 20 years ago. Patients taken off the drug too quickly are also suing, claiming they weren't told how to detox properly. "There is no sign that such prescribing is diminishing," says Professor Malcolm Lader, a leading researcher on the long-term use of benzodiazepines and their connection to brain damage. "With around a million long-term [UK] users, the [legal] defense unions will at some point decide that these cases are indefensible and GPs will have to pay their own costs." Benzo dependence is equally common in the US, where it's one of the top reasons for entering rehab.

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