Benzodiazepines and Z-drugs (BZDs), hypnotic drugs used for insomnia and anxiety, are prescribed millions of times a year in the UK. Although guidance from the relevant regulatory authorities (NICE and BNF) indicates them only for short-term use, the evidence suggests that many patients have been taking these drugs for much longer, often for decades. At present, there are no up-to-date, evidence-based estimates of the scale of long-term BZD use in the UK, which has prevented making a strong case for the need for withdrawal services. However, data obtained recently on BZD use from a number of GP surgeries (covering nearly 100,000 registered patients) in the North of England, allow such projections to be calculated. Scaling the results to a national level suggests that there are over a quarter of a million patients in the UK using BZDs for periods far longer than recommended. The projections also suggest that nearly half this number may be willing to accept help to stop their dependency on BZDs. These results indicate a serious problem, which should be addressed by more research into the harms associated with long-term BZD use, the provision of withdrawal services, and a national helpline to support patients with BZD dependency.