December 29, 2018
Honors and Appointments Secretariat
1 Horse Guards Road
Dear Honors and Appointments Secretariat:
I was delighted to learn that Mr. Barry Haslam has nominated Professor Chrystal Heather Ashton for national honor. Indeed, this affords me the opportunity to convey to you the monumental and profound impact Professor Ashton’s work has had not only on me, but on countless thousands of people worldwide.
For many years, I took a prescribed daily dose of a benzodiazepine. The medication was quite effective for a period of months, and I was grateful for the relief it provided. However, as time went on, my original symptoms returned at a much more intense and pervasive level, and I began experiencing a host of additional symptoms as well. I began to suspect that the drug was actually causing my problems, but my psychiatrist was woefully uneducated on this matter, as are most American doctors, and he repeatedly rebuffed my suggestion. After several years of intense and relentless suffering, I began conducting massive research on benzodiazepines, and thank God I discovered The Ashton Manual. Professor Ashton’s Manual is the product of over twelve years of her research while she ran a dedicated benzodiazepine withdrawal clinic in your home country. Upon reading The Ashton Manual, which I downloaded online free of charge, I became fully aware of the devastating harm these drugs had been causing me.
Throughout my withdrawal and healing from benzodiazepines, I have been very active in several online and in-person communities and support forums, both local and international. Every one of these organizations has been built upon a foundation of Professor Ashton’s work. It may perhaps be impossible to locate any credible source of information about benzodiazepine withdrawal that does not contain multiple references to Professor Ashton’s groundbreaking discoveries. It is no exaggeration to state that Professor Ashton is internationally recognized as the world’s foremost expert on benzodiazepines, and her manual has undoubtedly rescued untold thousands of people from the agony of perpetual physical dependence.
I have seen several hours of footage of Professor Ashton giving presentations to her peers and being interviewed by journalists and scholars alike. She does not strike me as one who seeks to receive any sort of recognition or acclaim, nor does she seem interested in financial gain. She has gone about her work quietly and humbly, attempting to undo the devastation caused by an often uneducated medical community. She is a consummate scientist, humanitarian, and unsung heroine. Quite simply, there could not possibly be any person more deserving than Professor Ashton for national honor, and indeed, for worldwide honor.
Thank you for your consideration.
Jeff Stoffel was a very happy, healthy, and active husband and father who got into the habit of taking a prescribed dose of Xanax every night at bedtime. That bedtime dose soon needed to be doubled, and before long, his prescription was for enough Xanax to be taken four to five times a day. By 2012, Jeff was in a state of severe tolerance withdrawal, but had no knowledge of such. His anxiety had now become a constant state of intense fear, and he was barely functional on any level. Neither increased doses of Xanax, nor additional medications, nor weekly counseling was effective at controlling Jeff’s “severe treatment-resistant anxiety”. After languishing in this condition for another five years, he finally discovered a huge online community of people whose stories corroborated his own, and he became benzo free in June of 2017. Now 19 months off, Jeff is struggling with severe protracted withdrawal syndrome. He clings tightly to the words of those who have healed before him, and eagerly awaits the sheer bliss of recovery.