BMF 75-Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a common class of prescription medication. There are over fifty different types of benzodiazepines worldwide. They are used therapeutically for a number of applications, including control of epilepsy, reducing anxiety, as premedication adjuncts to anaesthesia, to treat insomnia, and for alcohol withdrawal. Benzodiazepines are also a frequently abused class of drugs. Abuse can be broadly divided into 3 main categories: 1) Over prescribing for legitimate indications, 2) recreational abuse, 3) drug facilitated crime.

Benzodiazepines have a high addition potential and over prescription can lead to dependency. Better recognition of this has resulted in a gradual reduction in the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions issued. They are one of the most common prescription drugs abused recreationally. Benzodiazepines are abused for the buzz or rush that follows rapid injection or otherwise for their alcohol like effects. Polydrug abuse involving benzodiazepines is common. They are used to enhance the effects of other CNS depressant drugs, alleviate withdrawal effects or combat effects of stimulants, i.e. to enable sleep and to reduce stress, anxiety and depression following their use. The hypnotic effect of benzodiazepines also makes them potential candidates for drug facilitated crimes such as date rape, robbery or neglect. 

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