While the opioid epidemic has garnered America’s attention, the abuse of benzodiazepines has skyrocketed. In this short video, John Hamilton, Chief Clinical Outreach Officer, talks about benzodiazepine abuse and the likelihood of it becoming the next opioid crisis.
The opioid epidemic has killed many Americans throughout the country ⎼ over 64,000 last year, over 70,000 this year. And what people are not aware of is that it isn’t just the opiates that are killing people. It’s a combination of opioids with benzodiazepines. In fact, in every state across the board, when they look at those who have died of overdoses, consistently close to one third of all the lethal overdoses involving opiates have had traces of benzodiazepines.
Looking at the over prescription of medications in Connecticut last year, out of the top five controlled drugs that were prescribed, only one was an opiate analgesic while the other four were benzodiazepines: Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, and Ambien.
So, I just want to make a pitch out there for people to be very careful around the use and misuse of benzodiazepines. You will see it as the next issue. It is really being seen as a new drug trend because kids in high school and college have the ability to get these prescriptions. They’re FDA approved prescriptions. The perception of risk is always related to a drug trend and these are seen as harmless compared to the opiate epidemic that is now obviously killing people. But people are not aware of the impact that benzos are having in our society today.