Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group Logo

News and Events

MBSG Reports

Publications About Us

Presentations and Resources



Articles of Interest and Position Statements

2011 Annual Conference Webpage

2010 Annual Conference Webpage

2009 Annual Conference Webpage

2008 Annual Conference Webpage

2007 Annual Conference Webpage

2006 Annual Conference Webpage



Safe Medicine Disposal for ME Program



MBSG Steering Committee Members

Heather Ashton, MD  

Emeritus Professor of
University of Newcastle

Gillian Bartlett-Esquilant, Phd

McGill Univ. Clinical & Health Info. Research Grp.

James Berry, MD

Family Practice Residency, Eastern Maine Medical Center

The Honorable Gail Chase

Former Maine State Auditor

Ted Callanan, MD

Chairman of Psychiatry, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Ben Crocker, MD

Medical Director

MMC Physician-Hospital Organization

Bill Flagg

Director of Community Relations and Development

Cary Medical Center

Bob Gagne

Public Affairs Counsel


Stevan Gressitt, MD

Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group

Robert Hayes, Esq.

Medicare Rights Center

Lenard Kaye, DSW/PhD


UMaine Center on Aging

Doug Ross

National Drug Intelligence Center

Karen Simone, PharmD, DABAT

Managing Director

Northern New England Poison Center

Erik Steele, DO

Vice President

Eastern Maine Medical Center

Richard Stefanacci, DO, MBA, MGH

Founding Executive Director

Health Policy Institute

University of the Sciences in Philadelphia

Gerry Mugford, PhD, CMH

Faculty of Medicine & School of Pharmacy

Memorial University of Newfoundland












Sunday-Tuesday, October 2-4, 2011

2011 International Symposium on Safe Medicine
(formerly known as the International Symposium on Pharmaceuticals in the Home and Environment)

Eighth Annual Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group Conference


Seventh Annual Unused Drug Return

Holiday Inn by the Bay
Hotel and Convention Center

Portland, Maine


Visit the conference webpage for conference materials


About the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group:

The Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group was formed in late 2002 as an initiative of Northeast Occupational Exchange in Bangor, and is comprised of physicians, epidemiologists, nurse practitioners, drug abuse specialists, health care providers, payers, advocates, and other interested parties in Maine, including the University of Maine Center on Aging. Members from other US States, and the Canadian provinces of Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Quebec round out the group.

The MBSG was created to gather data on benzodiazepine use and to consider evidence-based strategies that promote appropriate prescribing and usage. The group meets monthly utilizing various information technology services.For general information about the group, e-mail to: or call (207) 262-7920 or fax (207) 262-7921.



News and Events   

The Second Tsunami DVD Now Available

On December 26, 2004, a tsunami devastated the coasts of Southeast Asia. The world mobilized to help and the promises made by governments suggested that the affected countries would have enough funds to replenish their stocks of medicines which had been destroyed in the tsunami.  Unfortunately, despite the issuance of Guidelines for Drug Donations in 1996, the same mistakes were repeated with dramatic health and economic effects on disaster-affected countries. The Second Tsunami, a 26-minute documentary produced by Pharmaciens Sans Frontieres Comité International, addresses the impact on the countries hit by the disaster and the aftermath of donated pharmaceuticals on this region.  

DVDs are available for $12.00 each (including shipping and handling to US and Canadian addresses). Please make checks payable to UMaine Center on Aging. For additional shipping fees for addresses outside of the US and Canada or for more information, please email

Download an order form here

Dr. Stevan Gressitt's Presentation at the Patient Compliance Congress now available

Dr. Stevan Gressitt, MBSG Secretary, presented at the Patient Compliance Congress to be held on November 30-December 1, 2006 in Philadelphia . The Patient Compliance Congress is organized by Eyeforpharma for those working in the pharmaceutical industry.  

Click here to learn more about the event

Click here to view Dr. Gressitt's presentation in PDF format

Heather Ashton DVD Now Available!

A DVD of Dr. C. Heather Ashton's April 2006 Vancouver B.C.  lecture is available from the Psychiatric Medication Awareness Group (PMAG). Dr. Ashton speaks on "Benzodiazepine Dependence and Withdrawal Methods" - how benzodiazepines and hypnotics affect the brain and body, symptoms of dependence, the personal/social costs of benzodiazepine dependence, benzodiazepine use and other substances such as street drugs, withdrawal, effective tapering plans, outcomes and long-term symptoms, and best practices.

The 90-minute DVD is a useful educational tool for health care facilities, health care professionals, non-profit organizations, and those who take benzodiazepines. Up to 5 copies may be made for appropriate use. The DVD costs $25 (Canadian) and is available from PMAG's web site:

Or by sending a cheque or money order to:
Focus Consultants
Dept. 20, Box 4276
Victoria, B.C. Canada V8X 3X8

For further information, email:

CoA to Oversee the MBSG

The University of Maine Center on Aging is pleased to announce that it will now act as the hosting organization to the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group. This move will allow the Center to continue its focus on the effects of benzos and prescription drugs on older adults. The MBSG is currently developing subgroup interest areas to guide the group's work in the coming years... Learn more here  


For general information, e-mail to: or call (207) 262-7920 or fax (207) 262-7921
If you would like to sign up for the mailing list or to attend meetings please email
For video conferencing technical information call (207) 973-7700.


Past Conferences


picture of Anne Pistell, Irene Wegner, and Jim Cameron
From left : 2004 Conference Presenters Jim Cameron, Office of the Maine Attn. Gen.; Irene Wegner, Indiana AARP; and Anne Pistell, Maine DEP, Roy McKinney, Chief, Maine Drug Enforcement Agency

On October 4th and 5th, 2004, the CoA participated in the 2nd Annual Benzodiazepine Conference in Bangor. The conference agenda was extensive and included presentations on topics such as state and national statistics on BZD use, the proposed Medicare BZD coverage exclusion, state efforts at addressing BZD use issues, nation-wide efforts on BZD disposal options, and BZD use among older adults. One outgrowth of that discussion on BZDs and the elderly was the development of three Center on Aging authored fact sheets to better inform healthcare and policy professionals, as well two fact sheets aimed at the general population, particularly older adults, to educate about BZDs. These are available on our publications and reports page.

During 2003, the MBSG undertook their first survey of benzodiazepine use, misuse, and abuse; inviting data submissions from participant organizations. This was followed by an international conference held in September 2003, in Bangor, Maine.

The Center on Aging is looking forward to its continued affiliation with the Maine BZD Study Group and next year’s conference.


Monthly meetings third Tuesday of each month 5:00pm - 6:30pm EST

2007 annual meeting will be in October 2007, for further information contact Bill Flagg, (207) 498-1376 or

Agenda to be emailed prior to the meeting.
Meeting location site information [Bangor, Caribou, Portland, Rockport, Augusta, Me.;  Denver, Co.; Wash., D.C.; Miami, Fl.; Montreal, P.Q.; St. John's, Nfl.; Minneapolis, Mn.] can be obtained by contacting 207-942-3816 x 269.
If you are interested in supporting the Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group, please click here for a support authorization form.

  Coordinated by:

Supported by:

Camden Hall, 25 Texas Avenue
Cary Medical Center

Bangor, Maine 04401-4324

  163 Van Buren Road
  Caribou, Maine  04736
  (207) 498 - 3111


Supported by:
Dominion Diagnostics
New Horizons Health Care St. Joseph Healthcare
211 Circuit Drive
80 Main Street 360 Broadway
North Kingstown, RI  02852
Unity, Maine  04988 Bangor, Maine 04401
(401) 667-0800
(207) 948-2100 (207) 262-1000
(877) 734-9600
Fax: (207) 948-3018

“Try Another Way” Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Program
Orono Medical Center
PharmEcology Associates, LLC
Cairns,  Queensland
303 Main Street
Australia  4870
Orono, Maine  04473
0011 + 61 + 7 + 40503900
(207) 866-5561
(800) 439-5561
Try Another Way Questionnaire

Previous Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group Web Address


Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group Logo


Maine Benzodiazepine Study Group

University of Maine Center on Aging

Camden Hall

25 Texas Avenue

Bangor, Maine 04401-4324

Phone: 1 (207) 262-7920

Fax: 1 (207) 262-7921