A recent report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) showed that the number of emergency room visits related to the sedative alprazolam doubled in a five-year period. Alprazolam is the generic name for the benzodiazepine prescription drug commonly known as Xanax.
In 2005, the report states, the total number of ER visits for alprazolam were about 57,000, but that number ballooned to 124,000 by 2010. The drug was listed as the 13th most commonly sold medication in 2012 and the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drug in 2011. Addtionally, the ER visits for patients between the ages of 25 and 34 tripled between 2005 and 2011 involving the drug.
These numbers aren’t necessarily surprising to many addiction treatment and intervention professionals, as benzodiazepines are among the most abused prescription drugs after painkillers. It is also often used in combination with other drugs. In fact, the DAWN report states that alprazolam was used in combination with another drug in 39 percent of visits, with two drugs in 21 percent of visits, and with three or more drugs in 21 percent of visits.
Non-medical use of drugs includes taking more than the prescribed dose, taking a drug that was prescribed for another individual, being deliberately poisoned with a drug by another person, or documented misuse or abuse of a drug. Benzodiazepines are notorious in the drug treatment and intervention community for having severe withdrawal symptoms that can include seizures and hallucinations.
If you know of someone abusing a benzodiazepine such as Xanax or any other type of drug, contact us today for more information on successful treatment and intervention practices.