Benzos Becoming a Drug of Choice for Teens

In an attempt to prevent adolescent substance abuse, it is crucial to stay up to date with the current drug trends among our youth. Research shows that benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as benzos, have become a popular drug of choice among teens and those in their twenties, and have contributed to a massive increase in overdose deaths.

Benzodiazepines, such as Valium and Xanax, are often prescribed to treat anxiety and insomnia, but teens and young adults have been using them recreationally.

I recently met with reporter David Matthau to discuss how this trend is affecting today’s youth and contributing to a significant increase in the number of fatal overdoses.

A study from earlier this year reported that there’s been an 830% increase, from 1999 to 2017, in overdose deaths involving benzos. This spike was only surpassed by overdose deaths involving synthetic opiates or heroin, so there’s no question this is an alarming statistic.

Benzodiazepines are generally safe when they are taken occasionally over a few weeks with doctor supervision, but we also need to be aware that the brain quickly accepts and adapts to the medicine. We need to continue to educate ourselves and others about safer non-addictive alternatives for treating depression and insomnia in young adults so that we can limit the risks of substance abuse and potential overdoses.

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