What are benzodiazepines, aka “benzos”, and why are they so dangerous? Benzodiazepines are a classification of drugs that act on the central nervous system. These drugs act as tranquilizers that are prescribed and produce sedation, muscle relaxation and lower anxiety. They may be prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, seizure control, and amnesia for uncomfortable procedures. 1
Valium and Xanax are two types of benzodiazepines that are schedule IV controlled substances. A schedule IV drug, substance, or chemical is defined as a drug with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.2
However, over 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve benzodiazepines. Between 1996 and 2013, the number of adults who filled a benzodiazepine prescription increased from 8.1 million to 13.5 million with the quantity increasing from 1.1kg to 3.6kg lorazepam-equivalents per 100,000 adults.3
Due to the strong effects of benzos they are a commonly abused drug, especially with the younger generation as they’ve become increasingly accessible. When combined with alcohol the effects are intensified, and the combination can cause a fatal result. These drugs are extremely dangerous and it is highly recommended that someone who is dependent on benzos does not try to quit cold turkey. Medical detox from benzos is necessary because the withdrawal symptoms alone, as with many “hard” drugs, can be life threatening, including deadly seizures and more.
If you or a loved one is struggling from benzodiazepine addiction please get professional help. Harm Reduction Center is here to help with benzo detox. Please give us a call to take the next step for you or a loved one’s recovery process.
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