Treatment for abuse of benzodiazepines—which are used to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizure disorders—almost tripled from 1998 to 2008, according to a new national study.
The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that substance abuse treatment admissions for benzodiazepines among those 12 and older increased from 22,400 in 1998 to 60,200 in 2008, Medical News Today reports. In contrast, overall treatment admissions for all substances during this period rose 11 percent.
SAMHSA found that benzodiazepine-related admissions represented 3.2 percent of all substance abuse admissions in 2008, up from 1.3 percent in 1998. White, non-Hispanic men made up the majority of benzodiazepine-related admissions.
Most of the benzodiazepine-related admissions also involved the abuse of another substance, and benzodiazepines were often the secondary drug of abuse, the report found. Overall, opiates were the primary substance of abuse in 54.2 percent of these cases. Among teenagers, however, marijuana was the most frequently reported primary substance that was abused. Among those age 45 and older, alcohol and opiates were the most common primary substances that were abused.