Teen addiction to benzodiazepines, called “benzos” for short, is on the rise, and these drugs are easier for teens to access—and get addicted to—than most parents think. In fact, they can be as easy to order as direct-messaging a dealer on Instagram.
“Benzodiazepines are one of the most commonly prescribed classes of psychoactive drugs,” says Lawrence Weinstein, M.D., chief medical officer at American Addiction Centers. “In the past 20 years, benzodiazepine prescriptions for adolescents have doubled. With the medication being so prevalent, it is not uncommon for a teen to either be prescribed the medication themselves, have a parent who keeps a prescription in the home, or know of someone with that prescription.”
Even if teens do not have direct access to a prescription, finding a supplier can be as simple as logging into their social networks like Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram. “Where teens are getting these drugs from is simple: If they are social and tech-savvy, they can access them,” says Dr. Weinstein.
Full story at Parents.com
Alprazolam (Xanax) is a useful medication for certain mental health conditions. Xanax starts to work quickly, and it stays in the body long after the effects of one dose have worn off.
Doctors often prescribe Xanax for generalized anxiety disorder or panic disorder. It is one of the most widely used medications for these conditions, and it belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, or “benzos.”
Xanax works by increasing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter in the brain that increases feelings of calmness.
Full story at Medical News Today
The practice of co-prescribing the opioid overdose reversal drug naloxone to Medicare Part D patients who take opioids for chronic pain increased between 2016 and 2017, though such co-prescriptions were provided to only a small minority of patients who might benefit, according to research led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, all within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The study found that overall national rates for naloxone co-prescription along with any opioid among Medicare Part D patients increased from 1.5 per 1000 patients receiving opioid prescriptions in 2016 to 4.6 per 1000 in 2017.
In 2016, CDC released a guideline advising clinicians to consider co-prescribing naloxone to patients at increased overdose risk, such as those taking higher doses of opioids or those who also have prescriptions for benzodiazepines to treat anxiety. Consistent with these recommendations, the highest rates of co-prescribing were among patients receiving opioids at doses of more than 90 morphine milligram equivalents per day and benzodiazepines for more than 300 days. In addition, two states that mandated naloxone co-prescribing (Vermont and Virginia) have the highest rates of all U.S. states for co-prescribing.
Full story at National Institute of Drug Abuse
Before undergoing an operation, most people experience some form of anxiety. Although this response is common, it is not unproblematic, and treatment often involves a sedative with a whole host of possible side effects. But new research may have found an alternative.
The biggest issue with preoperative anxiety is its ability to affect recovery, including wound healing.
Typically, people receive benzodiazepines — drugs that act as sedatives — to lower anxiety levels before receiving anesthesia.
Full story at Medical News Today
Doctors are prescribing large amounts of benzodiazepines such as Xanax and Ativan, which can cause deadly complications, an expert tells NBC News.
Dr. Anna Lembke, Chief of Addiction Medicine at Stanford University Medical Center, said complications from benzodiazepines, such as dependency and addiction, are fueling a hidden epidemic. The drugs are primarily used to treat anxiety and sleeplessness.
“Medical students, residents and even doctors in practice don’t recognize the addictive potential of benzodiazepines,” Dr. Lembke said. “There’s been all this awareness on opioids but very little focus on benzodiazepines and yet people are dying from them.”
Full story at drugfree.org