BAT is a user-led, user-sensitive registered charity, based in Bristol. Several ex-benzodiazepine users, and carers of users, are on BAT’s management committee.
To lessen the harm caused by benzodiazepine and z drug tranquillisers and sleeping pills
To help those who are addicted to benzodiazepines, tranquillisers and sleeping pills, and drugs with similar effects, and who wish to withdraw from them, to do so as comfortably as possible, and to help them to make the changes necessary in life after withdrawal.
To educate and inform all those who may come across the problem of Benzodiazepine addiction, either personally or professionally, towards and understanding of the difficulties caused by the drugs actions and the compounding of these difficulties in withdrawal.
To influence services in their prescribing, managing and supporting of clients who take/want to withdraw from Benzodiazepines and similar drugs.
Provide direct services: to users and carers: through support groups, drop-ins (both bz-specific and partnership generic), home visits, telephone helpline, dual diagnosis, website question and answer facility and specialist support for other agencies/ workers.
Educate and inform:
through partnership working, training (including post-graduate accredited training), policy development, profile-raising of the issues through media, presentations, website, drug and alcohol and mental health conference planning and input, keynote speaking at conferences (mental health/drug and alcohol).
We aim, through education and training, to reduce prescribing by raising awareness.
BAT is the only organisation of its kind that works with clients who take benzodiazepines etc, both on prescription and those who take the drugs illicitly. It’s also the only agency that offers specific training and support to organisations/workers, whose clients/patients experience the problems of benzodiazepine use and withdrawal.
Many national and local organisations signpost people to BAT for specialist tranquilliser help. These include NHS Direct, National Drugs Helpline, Mind, Sane, and The Samaritans.
Battle Against Tranquillisers began as a self-help unfunded group in 1985. The need for such a group quickly became apparent. Bristol Drug Project contacted us within a few weeks of opening, to offer the use of a room because that so many people who contacted the Project were also taking benzodiazepines.
In 1991 BAT won the Association of British Insurers Regional Gold Medal for Medical Services to the Community.
In 1994 a local GP contacted BAT to hold a series of consultations with patients who had been taking benzodiazepines long-term. This was because she had noticed that older patients who fell and fractured bones, seemed almost always to be taking these drugs.
The following year (1995) BAT was placed on a firmer foundation and started to be funded from a number of sources. It is now a registered charity and company limited by guarantee. Jean Corston, a local Member of Parliament, is patron.