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Irish top of the pill poppers.

A SHOCKING new report claims Irish people take more tranquillisers than anyone else in Europe.

A poll of European countries places Ireland at the top as the country with the highest amount of benzodiapine - the medical name for tranquilliser - prescriptions.

Irish doctors give out TWICE as many prescriptions for valium as doctors in Portugal, the second highest country on the list.

And tranquilliser use among medical card holders has TRIPLED since 1996.

Now angry patients are demanding doctors listen to their problems instead of just reaching for the prescription pad.

Frances (not her real name), 52, first started taking valium during a difficult marriage break up.

She originally saw the pills as brief help to tide her over - but within months sank into complete chemical dependency.

It took Frances three years to emerge from her valium hell.

Now she wants to warn others about the dangers of tranquilliser addiction.

She said: "I never thought I would end up as the kind of person who had a drug problem but after three years on valium I was as big an addict as any junkie on the street.

"On the face of it I was a respectable woman with a good job as a civil servant and four lovely sons.

"But inside I was a mess. Valium ruled my life completely and it's only now I can finally say I am free."

It took two and a half years and four failed attempts before Frances came off valium for good.

She feels her whole ordeal could have been averted if her doctor had taken the time to listen to her problems.


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Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 22, 2004
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