What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are depressants that produce sedation and hypnosis, relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, and reduce seizures.
The most common benzodiazepines are the prescription drugs Valium®, Xanax®, Halcion®, Ativan®, and Klonopin®. Shorter-acting benzodiazepines used to manage insomnia include estazolam (ProSom®), flurazepam (Dalmane®), temazepam (Restoril®), and triazolam (Halcion®). Midazolam (Versed®), a short-acting benzodiazepine, is utilized for sedation, anxiety, and amnesia in critical care settings and prior to anesthesia.
How are they abused?
Abuse is frequently associated with adolescents and young adults who take the drug orally or crush it up and snort it to get high. Abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine users. Additionally, opioid users often co-abuse benzodiazepines to enhance euphoria.
What is their effect on the body?
Benzodiazepines slow down the central nervous system and may cause sleepiness and relaxed mood. Benzodiazepines are associated with amnesia, hostility, irritability, and vivid or disturbing dreams.
What are their overdose effects?
Extreme drowsiness, confusion, impaired coordination, decreased reflexes, respiratory depression, coma, and possible death. Overdose effects of concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids include:
Profound sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.