About Me / My Story
Me outside my evacuee housing unit
Name: Wayne Douglas
From: South Auckland, New Zealand
University Major: Japanese
Employment History: International relations, translator, English teacher, events organizer
Hobbies: Outdoor pursuits, gym training, cooking
Time in Japan: Approx 15 years (as at March 2014)
I was born in September 1966 and adopted out as a 6 month old baby. I grew up in a lower-middle class neighborhood in South Auckland, New Zealand. My adoptive father left the family home when I was 4 years old; leaving my Mother to raise my younger brother and me alone while holding down a fulltime job. At age nine, I began attending boarding school.
After leaving school, I worked in the building industry, but due to the economic downturn in the late 1980s, there was no work around. So, at age 23, I returned to high school on the adult education program to study Japanese.
The following year, I moved into the city to continue with my Japanese studies at university. However, these studies didn’t come cheap. Before I knew it, I had a student loan and a bank loan, as well as my Mother had dipped into her retirement savings to help get me through.
Not wanting to let her down, I completely applied myself and was awarded a scholarship for outstanding students of the Japanese language before graduating in 1995.
I came to Japan as a young man with ambition to help foster ties between Japan and New Zealand and spent several years working in the field of International relations at various Japanese government offices.
My work had been highly acclaimed receiving publicity on TV and other media both in New Zealand and Japan. Everything was progressing smoothly and everything was looking on the up, until one day on May 11, 2000…
SAY WHAT ???
- I was prescribed benzodiazepines, without informed consent, not for anxiety, not from a psychiatrist, but for acute dizziness (associated with an ear problem).
- The drugs were completely unsuited to both the condition I actually had (Vestibular Neuronitis) and the condition I was incorrectly diagnosed as having (Sylvian Aqueduct Syndrome). See Expert Verifications.
- I had no idea what the drugs were (there was basically no information on the internet for me to refer to at the time either).
1. The Medical Treatment
The Japanese Ministry of Health who have failed to educate doctors
On the night of May 11, 2000, I suffered from an acute vertigo attack which left me with an ongoing balance problem. I went to a general hospital but no diagnosis was given.
During the month of June, my sense of balance had been slowly improving; however, there was still no sign of a complete recovery and I continued to have dizzy sensations such as my environment floating or rocking.
The general hospital referred me to a specialist in balance disorders in Tokyo. He incorrectly diagnosed me as having Sylvian Aqueduct Syndrome (a rare condition caused by a narrowing of the midbrain canal), despite MRI scans showing negative.
He told me that in order to treat my condition it would be necessary to “change the constitution of my organic makeup” using a course of drugs. I was still quite sick at the time, there was no information on the internet in those days, and the doctor was considered a respected expert, so I decided to accept his judgment in good faith.
Unknown to me at the time, the drugs he prescribed were: 3 benzodiazepines (Contol, Rivotril and Grandaxin), a tricyclic antidepressant (Tofranil - Imipramine) and a type of anti-inflammatory (ibudilast) marketed as Ketas. The benzodiazepines were all mixed together in powder form and dispensed in sachets with a combined diazepam equivalent of over 30mgs per day.
During the first few weeks: There appeared to be some initial settling of some symptoms; including my feelings of anxiousness (over not knowing what had caused my vertigo), muscle stiffness, and dizziness (which had been slowly improving anyway).
Following about 2 months: Some symptoms worsened (e.g. muscle stiffness) and new ones began appearing (e.g. palpitations).
Following 4-6 months: I experienced a significant worsening of symptoms, including the muscle stiffness, which was previously limited to periodic episodes in the lower back and neck / shoulder areas (due to my balance problem), but had now came to encompass my entire body changing in nature from periodic to ongoing. All of my muscles felt tight, heavy and numbed with tightness in my limbs and across my scalp, as well as my jaw began locking up. My sense of balance also ceased to improve and instead began to worsen.
Many new symptoms also appeared such as: Tachycardia (pulse rate: 68→90), pressure in chest, flushes (hot and cold), sensitivity to heat, tingling sensations, hypersensitivity to all stimuli, started to experience light tinnitus (when trying to sleep and upon wakening), dry mouth, taste abnormalities, mouth ulcers, stomach pains, loss of appetite and nausea (at time of initial vertigo but newly developed), loss of libido; emotional disturbances including panic attacks, chronic anxiety and depression, feeling detached, loss in concentration, slightly affected speech, confusion, mood swings, aggression, intrusive / scattered thoughts, feeling on verge of having fit / going mad; visual disturbances such as increased light sensitivity (with development of floaters), colour flashes, light flashes, sparkling sensation in vision, exaggerated after images, blurred / hazy vision, delayed focus (like seeing surroundings in sequence of snap shots), jaw pain, joint pain, general complete physical / mental deterioration – it looked like I was aging at the rate of one year every month with a grey, very sick looking complexion.
I never had any previous history of psychological, neurological or anxiety disorders prior to being prescribed these drugs.
NB: I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was actually suffering from withdrawal symptoms and side-effects.
“When tolerance develops, ‘withdrawal’ symptoms can appear even though the user continues to take the drug. Thus the symptoms suffered by many long-term users (more than 2-4 weeks) are a mixture of adverse effects of the drugs and ‘withdrawal’ effects due to tolerance.” (See The Ashton Manual)
I made desperate attempts to bring my deteriorating condition to the attention of the doctor, but he kept dismissing my concerns. I tried stopping the prescriptions, but was unable to do so. So, I eventually changed hospitals.
However, the new hospital gave yet another bogus diagnosis of Autonomic Nervous Disorder, totally overlooking my state of benzodiazepine dependency, and prescribed yet more benzos, which included: Alprazolam (Xanax / Constan) and Clonazepam (Klonopin / Rivotril) with a combined diazepam equivalent of 48mgs per day.
The new doctor also tried to prescribe me a third benzo, Bromazepam (Lexotan, Lexomil), but after consulting him, I decided not to take these because I felt that the drugs were the main cause of my deteriorating condition.
After giving up hope on the Japanese doctors, I returned to New Zealand. When I arrived, my mother failed to recognize me at the airport. She said that I looked like a half dead zombie. I made another attempt to stop the drugs, but again wasn’t able to do so.
I underwent a consultation with my local GP. His practice was located only 100 metres down the road, however, as I was unable to walk that far, so my mother had to drive me there. I was diagnosed as benzodiazepine dependent and referred to the Alcohol & Drug Service for assistance.
During the reduction period and the months that followed abstinence, I became extremely volatile with an increase in most of my symptoms including: mood swings aggression, panic attacks, palpitations, hypersensitivity etc.
My time in Japan had been extremely painful but my suffering was still a long way away from easing. I can remember days when I screamed at my elderly mother over what I realize now were clearly trivial things.
New symptoms also appeared including: a tingling sensation over my face, loss in coordination, myoclonic jerks (involuntary movements), and a sense of an oily smell emanating from my body.
I can recall nights when my mother and I were sitting in the lounge watching television. I would sit there slightly rocking my chair back and forth, as I endured an amplification of all the previously mentioned drug symptoms. At times it felt like I was going to explode. I kept repeating to myself “I hope I don’t lose control and attack mum, I hope I don’t lose control and attack mum….” and just kept praying for it all to stop, but it never did, not for a long time.
It was really terrible. I seriously thought about running away but to where? This was home, and yet I felt as though I was in hell.
I was cognitively impaired to such a degree that I was unable to drive. My brain was all foggy and I was unable to concentrate or do much in the way of basic household chores.
After being off the drugs for just over 6 months, the nature of my dizziness (original complaint) changed notably for the very first time since my initial vertigo attack back on May 11, 2000 − from ongoing (24/7) to periodic dizzy spells only. Together with the removal of the drugs and time, my sense of balance eventually recovered 100%.
Most of my withdrawal symptoms resolved within the first year of stopping; however, some symptoms (e.g. panic attacks) continued for many years, there were relapses, and it took about 10 years before I really felt my true self again.
LONG-TERM PROBLEMS / PERMANENT DAMAGE
AFTER wrongfully being prescribed benzodiazepines, I developed a tendency to either skip or muddle up letter order when writing, or mistype when using a computer keyboard, which I understand is consistent with long term cognitive impairment.
Every now and then, I get irritable bowel, which I never had before the drug treatment either.
Fortunately, the panic attacks have since gone (after about 10 years). I only ever had them while on the prescriptions and during the years following withdrawal with a gradual improvement over time.
On occasion, a spot of clear light appears in my vision that looks like the backlight shining through a broken pixel on a computer monitor. Naturally, the eye floaters never recovered, and although there is no way of proving association, I’ve heard many stories of people getting these whilst being prescribed benzodiazepines.
I’m aware that benzodiazepines can cause an alteration in the activity of benzodiazepine receptors in brain GABA neurons; leaving individuals with heightened central nervous system excitability and increased sensitivity to stress (See The Ashton Manual).
Apparently, I was lucky that I was so proactive in my recovery because it would have helped reset my system; allowing my receptors to re-establish themselves more fully and my body to make all of the necessary adjustments… Otherwise, I may not have recovered as much as I did.
However, given that benzodiazepines do leave people more susceptible to stress, together with my experiences / circumstances in Japan (see below), it may be little wonder that I have a few symptoms at times.
Experts verifications later confirmed that the drugs prescribed to me were unsuited to both my actual condition (Vestibular Neuronitis) and the incorrectly diagnosed (Sylvian Aqueduct Syndrome). The additional bogus diagnosis of Autonomic Nervous Disorder, made by the other hospital, was also dismissed in several letters from Prof. Ashton.
- Personal Statement 1 gives an account of how the state of dependency evolved in relation to the treatment history.
- Personal Statement 2 focuses on how the dependency impacted on my life and those around me.
- My Dependency shows how I had to endure a state of dependency in another country whilst not knowing what was wrong with me because there was no informed consent.
- My Withdrawal shows how I had to endure withdrawal symptoms during the treatment (due to tolerance), during reduction, upon cessation, and for several months and years thereafter.
- My Recovery shows the remarkable effort I made in my recovery, going from a person who could hardly walk to one who could squat 180kgs in the gym.
- My Battle highlights the epic scale of my battle, as I fought this case in another country and language against a world famous doctor, the hospital, and the teams of lawyers and entire networks that no doubt sat behind them.
- The Japan Times - feature article gives an excellent overview of my case.
Say What Again?
- During court proceedings, the defendants were allowed to start arguing yet another completely different diagnosis (Autonomic Nervous Disorder) as a means of their defense.
2. The Medical Insurance
Inquiry at the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare
After returning to Japan in 2005, I applied for the National Health Insurance. When I did, the clerk asked if I had been in any of the national insurance schemes before. I explained that I was in the National Social Insurance scheme (which I paid about $US500 into each month) at the time I was incapacitated by the doctor induced benzodiazepine dependency. The clerk suggested that I make a claim for loss of earnings for the period of incapacitation (about 14 months).
The clerk further explained that, due to the 2 year statute of limitations, any claim would be initially declined, but then if I explained the circumstances (1. I had to return to New Zealand, 2. I was cognitively impaired) at the appeal; there was a good chance that I may be granted compensation.
Acting on the clerk’s advice, I followed the procedure and lodged my application at the Social Insurance Office in Urawa City.
After the initial claim was declined, I made an appeal to the Saitama Regional Office; however, the appeal also ended up being declined.
Second and final appeal
So, still acting on the clerk’s advice, I made one final appeal for an inquiry at the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (the same organization who has failed to educate doctors on benzodiazepines, which basically caused the problem in the first place).
The inquiry was held much like a small claims court. It lasted for about 90 minutes and I was grilled from all sides as if I was the guilty party. As proceedings were about to be adjourned, it seemed that I had successfully convinced the judicial panel that my claim was just.
Then at the very last minute, one of the examiners pointed out that I had made an application for a rebate on my pension after returning to New Zealand; effectively showing that I had sufficient cognitive ability to have made the insurance claim as well. The Chief Examiners’ face lit up with excitement.
I explained that the preparations for the pension rebate had all been done for me by my previous employer and that I didn’t need to do any of the paperwork. However, the Chief Examiner just kept grinning; clearly deriving a sense of satisfaction that he now had a potential reason for denying me any form of compensation.
Immediately after the hearing, I posted a letter explaining the situation in more detail, but in the end, the fact that my previous employer did my pension rebate for me, was not accepted as grounds for upholding my claim that I was cognitively impaired, and subsequently, my application was declined.
Returning to Japan was a huge psychological barrier for me. Due to the nature of protracted withdrawal syndrome, I was still considered a benzo dependent patient in remission and I was very vulnerable to stress, flashbacks and recurrences of withdrawal.
During this time, I was waking up every morning with extreme nausea and still suffering from ongoing panic attacks, so it was an extremely challenging time.
Say What Yet Again?
Despite the evidence (See Case Section), and despite ending up in a drug rehabilitation facility where I underwent a formal withdrawal program with follow-up consultations spanning several years, the Japanese courts said it couldn’t be proven that I had formed dependency on the drugs that were prescribed to me...
It begs the question “Why do people spend time in drug rehabilitation centres for again?”
3. The Courts
Outside the Tokyo High Court
As if the insurance claim above hadn’t been stressful enough, I then set out for compensation in the courts which presented another entire set of challenges. Below is an outline of how my case was handled in The Tokyo High Court.
- Diagnostics excluded: 3 criterions were ignored in the verdict resulting in a failure to rule out the fact I was dependent in terms of the DSM-IV-TR which formed the overall basis for the entire case.
- Misquoting evidence: The High Court verdict stated “...the only written information contained in the package insert of the benzodiazepine type drugs is that it is possible for drug dependency to form on high repeated doses” However, also stated was “high or repeated doses.”
- Clinical information ignored: E.g. no prior neurological or psychological history, a series of failed attempts at stopping or reducing; ability to work before the drugs, work incapacitation following treatment, ability to return to work again after stopping etc.
- Selective symptom analysis: The judgment was based on a simple analysis of select symptoms that had been largely cut, misinterpreted or taken out of context.
- Withdrawal symptoms excluded: New symptoms recorded at the withdrawal facility during reduction were completely ignored. E.g. Myoclonic jerks, loss in coordination, paresthsia over face, tightness in cranial (feeling of tight band around head), oily smell emanating from body – glandular reactions etc.
- Facts misrepresented: The court concluded that because the dosage of BZs I was prescribed remained the same throughout the treatment, without any apparent efforts to seek dose increases, this showed that I had not developed tolerance and was therefore not addicted. However, this notion was a complete misrepresentation of our claim. That is: tolerance was manifested by a withdrawal reaction during the treatment; not a craving to increase dosages. This is the reason why the DSM-IV-TR Criterion 4 (Loss of Control) was applied but was ignored in the verdict.
- Unscientific term (diagnosis) employed: Despite the term Autonomic Nervous Disorder having no actual medical / scientific grounds for ruling out drug dependency, the courts accepted it as the determining factor in ruling out my case.
- Contextual facts ignored: E.g. the AND diagnosis only came after 6 months of BZs – never before.
- Relevance ill-considered: BZ dependency actually causes stress / anxiety and hyper-function of the autonomic nervous system and associated symptoms (so-called AND).
- Biased information employed: Drug company package inserts (full of inadequacies) used to determine dosage at which BZs could be deemed addictive.
- Credible evidence ignored: Expert opinions stating that dependency can, and does, develop on clinical doses if used for more than 2-4 weeks.
- Key witness denied testimony: Clinical Director and diagnosing doctor (twice without clear reason).
- Informed consent irrational: The judge never questioned the contradiction between the defendant doctor’s original diagnosis of “Sylvian Aqueduct Syndrome” and his prescribed drugs. Not to mention the fact the defendant doctor began claiming a totally new diagnosis (AND) for the first time only after court proceedings had begun.
- Monitoring irrational: The judge failed to distinguish between routine tests for checking balance functions and tests for checking the potential forming of drug dependency.
- Faulted proceedings: The original Chief Justice was replaced part way through proceedings by another Chief Justice who knew absolutely nothing about the case or BZ.
- Facts overlooked: One notable point in my case was that my health condition continued to improve even whilst being exposed to the most intense stress imaginable during court proceedings. This fact puts paid to the defense’s claim that my condition was simply caused by anxiety/stress alone and that I was prone to such. The reason being is that someone who is simply suffering from stress and prone to it wouldn’t be improving under increasingly stressful circumstances. It simply does not stand to reason. This was not considered in the verdict either.
- Final plea: In the very last sentence of my final statement, I posed the question “Why do you honestly think I ended up in a drug rehabilitation centre following 9 months of highly addictive BZ prescriptions?” The case closed without any response.
What do the world's 2 leading experts say?
Nearly all Wayne Douglas’s symptoms during BZ treatment, dosage reduction and withdrawal (recorded in Dr. Judson’s report) are due to dependence and symptoms of autonomic overactivity, which is common in these circumstances. Professor Heather Ashton. Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, England.
Dear Wayne, You were certainly subject to judicial mishandling of your case! I greatly sympathise with you. Yours sincerely, Professor Malcolm Lader. O.B.E., LL.B., Ph.D., M.D., D.Sc., F.R.C. Psych., F. Med Sci. Emeritus Professor of Clinical Psychopharmacology.
- Justice or Not? further highlights many of the injustices demonstrated by the High Court.
- Official Loss & Damage Forms show the actual amount of losses and damages in my case.
- Personal Statement 1 gives an account of how the state of dependency evolved in relation to the treatment history.
- Personal Statement 2 focuses on how the dependency impacted on my life and those around me.
Some of my goods arrive from Fukushima whilst
writing my Supreme Court appeal on the move
I continued to write my Supreme Court appeal whilst moving several times in the midst of radiation fallout, aftershocks, blackouts etc. and later unemployment and homelessness. By the time the Supreme Court decision was delivered, I had moved 6 times (within 6 months).
As above, I was working at JICA at the time of the disaster.
Due to the cumulative effects of the above: (1) The doctor induced BZ dependency, (2) The medical insurance dismissal, (3) The unjust courts, (4) The negligence of Social Security and employer (following the 3-11 Mega quake and Fukushima nuclear disaster), at age 50, I have “nothing” – no home, no family, no savings, no assets, and no security. I only have outstanding debts and legal costs.
I haven’t been able to look after my elderly mother who suffers from arthritis and a degenerative back problem; let alone repay her retirement savings that she lent me to study Japanese. In fact, I’ve only been able to visit her once in the last 8 years (My mother arranged the airfare). Returning to live New Zealand hasn’t been an option because of the astronomical cost of living there.
I’ve been enduring pain from a broken toe and inguinal hernia that needs attention, but cannot afford the medical insurance needed to get these attended to.
Due to regulations governing evacuee accommodation, I haven’t been able to relocate to find suitable employment and have only been working part-time (however, I have continued with my activities to help raise awarness).
Through no wrong doing on my part, I now live in state housing stuck in another country. I’ve endured the last 2 winters without using any heating (temperatures down to minus 10-15 degrees). Still harassed by continuous threats over unpaid utility bills and taxes, and plagued by air pollution from a nearby aluminium recycling factory, ongoing noise disturbances, as well as social isolation, it has been challenging to say the least.
After being exposed to a cocktail of nasty chemical drugs, radiation fallout, and years of air pollution, I am now left with concerns for my long term health, but cannot afford to go for health checks.
Most people talk about how much they lost after being prescribed benzodiazepines by their doctor. For me, I had nothing to lose, as I hadn’t even made it to the start line yet – all this happened just after I had finished paying back a student loan for my adult education, and I had nothing before that, so I just went from behind to further behind.
- Messages of Support shares some messages of support that were kindly sent to me from various people following the conclusion of my case.
- Messages of Thanks shares some messages of thanks to people who have supported me.
- My Thoughts are included as a means to try and help raise more awareness.
- Reader’s Column contains shared comments.
- Official Loss & Damage Forms show the actual amount of losses and damages in my case.
A. My Publicity
B. My Book
In order to try and make the most of my time in my evacuee accommodation, I decided to write a book. Written in a novel type prose, it is intended to be more of an entertaining read, but also has an underlying educational aspect.
The story takes the reader on a journey through prescription drug dependency in another country (Japan), through the entire judicial system, and into the 3-11 Mega quake and nuclear disaster as it happened, whilst capturing life in Japan along the way.
I have already written the initial draft which took 3.5 years to complete and I am now working on my own independent edit. Due to the costs associated with hiring a professional editor, legal advisor, publishing etc. I would very much appreciate any donations towards helping seeing this work through. Please visit the donation page.
C. My Activities
July 11, 2017: (World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day) Participated in talks with Japanese Health Ministry with victims.
Mar 3, 2017: Participated in a doctors’ petition and Japanese Health Ministry talks that lead to the said ministry making amendments to all package inserts for BZs prescribed in Japan, stating that they are also dependence forming even on small doses as prescribed.
Jan~Jul 2017: Helped coordinate the setting up of the Official W-BAD website.
July 11, 2016: (World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day) Participated in talks with Japanese Health Ministry, as Co-founder / Organizer of W-BAD) with victims and politicians (see above video).
June 27, 2016: Participated in W-BAD Pamphlet Appeal at Shinjuku Station in Tokyo with victims and 3 politicians (see above video).
Dec 2015 - July 2016: Established World Benzodiazepine Awareness Day.
April 2015: Took part in a meeting at Medwatcher Japan in preparation for a doctors' petition to the Japanese government; demanding stricter controls for prescription benzodiazepines. The request was submitted by Medwatcher Japan on 28th October 2015.
October 2014: Gave a presentation to highlight the dangers of “miss-prescribing” benzodiazepines and similar drugs at the International Society of Addiction Medicine World Congress at the Paciﬁco Yokohama Conference Center in Yokohama, Japan.
March 2014: Launched this website (Benzo Case) in the hope that others are able to benefit from the sharing of my experiences and assorted information.
March 2013: Coordinated an enquiry between a Japanese doctor and Prof. Ashton to help clarify ways to treat patients who had been stupified by being prescribed excessive doses of benzodiazepines.
January 2013: Arranged permission to have The Ashton Manual in Japanese printed as a hard copy to help improve access for elderly people.
August 2012: Coordinated an interview between Prof. Ashton and the Yomiuri Newspaper for a newspaper article to help raise awareness regarding some of the problems with benzodiazepines in Japan.
Feb 2003 ~ Oct 2011: Fought a torrid battle (in Japanese) for nearly 10 years (including preparation time) through to the Supreme Court of Japan to help get recognition for the pain and suffering caused by prescription benzodiazepines, both in my own case and throughout society in general. My lawyer and I fought this case in earnest to try and set a precedent with a view to lobbying for safer benzodiazepine prescription guidelines in Japan, and to help raise greater awareness in general (See Case Section).
Well done for all you are doing to get information out there about the risks associated with these drugs and I hope you educate many people in the course of your campaigning.
Jim Dobbin MP
House of Commons, London
On This PageAbout Me1. The Medical Treatment2. The Medical Insurance3. The Courts4. The Social Security / EmployerSummaryFurther ReadingA. My PublicityB. My BookC. My ActivitiesD. EndorsementsPlease Help
About this Site
This website has been constructed by me personally for the purpose of raising awareness about doctor induced benzodiazepine drug dependency and litigation problems.
The purpose of this site does not include any form of retribution. Also, for privacy reasons the defendants’ names along with certain other names have been omitted from all public documentation contained herein.
There are no other persons / parties involved and it in no way represents any organization or activist type movements.
It is not intended as medical or legal advice – please see Disclaimer.
Throughout this most grueling of challenges, I was always able to draw on inspiration from the All Blacks, and in particular captain Richie McCaw.
No matter how hard things got, or even when they were hard done by, they never complained and just got on with it.
There were many challenges in my case.
These included fighting a world famous doctor in another country and language, acting as go-between for a harsh natured Japanese speaking lawyer and a sensitive natured English speaking doctor, making my Supreme Court Appeal whilst evacuating from Fukushima etc during the 3/11 disaster etc…
Many people have asked me why I fought as far as the Supreme Court of Japan and why I decided to set up this website.
Regarding the former, I felt it was just simply wrong – people shouldn’t go to their doctor and come away suffering like that. I could see there was a significant problem in the current medical world that was affecting not only me but many others as well. I felt the problem needs to be brought to the attention of the authorities and there needs to be some accountability.
Regarding the later, knowing what prescription dependency is like, and being aware of the Effects on Us All, I felt the need to do something so that others aren’t led into suffering the same fate. This gave way to the idea of establishing this website.
I included the quote in the top left corner of this site because many people thought I was crazy for pursuing my case.
However, my philosophy is we can either choose to do something, or choose to do nothing. The former gives way to hope for many people. The latter…? Whichever way, it’s all in our hands…
Skeleton in the Closet
It seems the truths about the potential dangers of benzodiazepines are slowly coming out but with so many cases of prescription dependency worldwide there is clearly a long way to go.
Also, in my experience it appears as if dependency to prescription drugs leans toward a subject of taboo – almost as if society is succumbing to it.
However, is keeping these problems locked up in the closet going to help anyone or change anything?
At first it was difficult sharing my case and story online because it necessitated disclosing personal information, however, I felt the need to come out and help raise awareness outweighed this…
You may be interested to see the notes on corrections of Japanese translation errors, which were contained in the addiction medical report translations, together with explanations of the nature of these errors, and consider their potential implications on the case.
This is very interesting!
What worked well?
What didn't work so well?
For the interest of the reader, in this site I have given feedback on what worked well in my case and what could have been done better.
Below are some of the skills I needed to call upon in my case, however, unlike my case where I was required to play an active role between two countries and languages, not all cases may require such input from the claimants.
- Cross cultural
- Formal writing
- Stress management
- Time management
- Money management
- Health maintenance
- Self awareness
Perfect Smoke Screen
In my case, “confusion” appeared to be the main tactic of choice employed by the defense.
Enter the term “Autonomic Nervous Disorder” (The Perfect Smokescreen).
What are benzos for again?
The only time I’ve ever needed to visit a psychologist in my life was AFTER (wrongfully) being prescribed benzodiazepines…
Results Speak Volumes!!
I went from being barely able to walk when I was on benzodiazepines to being able to squat 180kgs following abstinence and rehabilitation.
The Japan Times
Most surprising of all, the high court relied on the packaging produced by the pharmaceutical company to determine the dosage at which benzodiazepines could be deemed addictive.
“I don't feel like I lost, I feel like I won and the court failed,” he says. “It feels like they were protecting the doctors and failed to protect society.” "What I want to do is use my experience and the material generated through my case to provide a resource to others who are dependent or may become dependent."
Loss & Damages
The amount of actual loss and damages in my case can be seen in the Official Loss and Damage Forms which are registered with the courts.
My Official Court Statement 2 may help give an idea of the nature of some of these damages.
This section shows a variety of other benzodiazepine related videos that may be of interest.
When do you suppose my condition was at its worst?
- When I was experiencing moderate levels of work related stress?
- When I was working a high pressure job and involved in a rigorous court battle in another country and language against a world famous doctor, the hospital, and the teams of lawyers and entire networks that no doubt sat behind them?
The answer is A.
Because at the time of situation (B) above, I wasn’t being mislead by a doctor feeding me a cocktail of highly addictive prescription drugs.
Instead I was employing the use of practical (non-drug) stress management techniques learnt in New Zealand before I returned to proceed with litigation in Japan.
Same principles applied to coping with the affects of the 3-11 disaster...
Prof. Ashton Acquaintance
I first became acquainted with Prof. Ashton when my lawyer and I were desperately seeking literature stating that a patient can experience withdrawal symptoms even while still taking the drugs.
She subsequently provided this key information and later other useful information as well.
We maintained close contact ever since; making efforts to raise awareness about this massive social problem.
This work included the translation of The Ashton Manual in Japanese.
See a variety of benzodiazepine related documentaries that may be of interest.
Favourite Word "Balance"
Throughout this entire ordeal, I came to realize the importance of “Balance”.
As pressing as the court deadlines were and as demanding as the case was, without maintaining a balance in life including rest, recreation, work, socializing, diet, sleep etc. it would have been impossible to sustain.
However, it was always a razor edge fine line between making progress and maintaining health and balance.
Subsequently, it took a lot of skill and adapting.
Justice or Not?
This section focuses on some of the apparent injustices of the Japanese courts in my case. To help highlight these, some parts of this section include cross-referencing between the High Court Verdict and the Addiction Reports which were all based on the official evidence and the DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for dependency.
A Great Doctor!
A doctor that took the time to listen…
Whilst residing in state housing in Nagano, as an evacuee from Fukushima, I consulted a local ENT about ear pain from overuse of earplugs.
As we got talking he learned of my situation with regards to being displaced by the 3/11 disaster and Fukushima nuclear accident.
As a result, he also learned that I was under some stress.
However, instead of labeling me with some fancy diagnostic term and prescribing me drugs, he sat down and we discussed possible solutions as to how to I might be able to relocate, get my job back, etc.
He did this after his surgery had closed over a cup of tea – what a great doctor and what a great guy!
It was difficult to get any relief from the ongoing symptoms
Unlike injuries where you may get some relief from adjusting your posture etc, with drug dependency in my case, the pain was both mental and physical and ran 24/7 regardless…
A Lot of Nerve
For many months and years I had to endure the effects and suffering of a horrible benzodiazepine dependency.
During my quest to seek recognition for this, I thought the defendant hospital, doctor and courts had a lot of nerve to turn around and tell me that I wasn’t dependent (despite having attended a drug rehabilitation program with follow-up consultations lasting more than a year)...
As someone who has experienced both doctor induced benzo dependency and the effects of the 3-11 disaster, I immediately became concerned about the overprescribing of prescription drugs to the many thousands of people in the disaster areas.
As it happened, I was writing my Supreme Court appeal in the midst of the disaster, so I took this opportunity to try and raise the alarm by including the following passage in my closing comments…
Seems people are all saying the same things over and over…
- I was like a zombie
- It felt like I was in hell
- It was much harder to come off benzodiazepines than anything else I'd ever had before
- It took a chunk of my life away
- It has destroyed my life
- The doctor never told me they were addictive / The doctor told me they weren’t addictive
- When I complained my condition was worsening the doctor prescribed me more...