Treatment for Abuse of Benzodiazepines Soars

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.

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    June 11, 2011 at 4:57 PM

    The article is somewhat misleading in that the primary reason why marijuana was the most frequently reported primary abused substance is due to teenagers being forced into treatment on the part of the schools and/or courts rather than actual abuse issues. No one wants to see children using drugs of any kind recreationally. Unfortunately the demonization of cannabis as being particularly harmful to this age group is oftentimes based more on current politics than on any possible inherent properties present within the drug in question.

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    Joseph Papaleo

    June 10, 2011 at 6:26 PM

    In the current state we find ourselves,e.g.,
    high unemployment, fear of being downsized etc.the growth in abuse of anti-anxiety meds
    and painkillers is no mystery.Besides the obvious problems we must face that cause stress,Americans must learn other ways to deal with anxiety besides taking a pill. I have cut my use of valium by 50% simply because a yoga student taught me how to breath correctly.We must pay more attention to simple things like nutrition and,yes, even breathing.

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