Benzo Rx Increasing Dramatically in U.S., Often With Opiods


Research presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Pain Medicine finds that 12.6% of primary care visits in the U.S. involved prescriptions for benzodiazepines or opioids, an increase of 12.5% each year from 2002 to 2009.  Visits involving an opioid prescription were 4.2x more likely to also involve a benzo description. “More research is needed to elucidate the reason behind the increase in benzodiazepine prescription, and a national effort is needed to highlight the danger of co-prescription of benzodiazepines and opioids,” said principal investigator Sean Mackey, MD,

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. I am not an expert in this but I believe there are many who live a lifestyle of alternating benzos , opiates, and meth as they see fit depending on which one they feel will help them feel better during the course of their daily lives.

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  2. Actually the benzo- opiod combo was maybe is standard practice for orthopedic surgery regardless of age.
    Interesting reading this now.
    No the meds are not addictive my relative was told. Although even in the eighties some MH folk knew of bentos additive nature.
    Before this became standard the role of orthopedics was interesting and oh so very male dominated.
    Lots of addicted of all tropes would end up on the ortho wards because in winter time in the dark so easy to fall.
    And wards had access to even more substances from so called friendly visitors.
    They also could be heroes if they choose to be but many did not follow through with C. Henry Kempe’s finding of child abuse and spiral fractures and all of that. And oh yes sure! Some mothers were blamed by boyfriends or husbands and took the fall when it was the male who was abusing in all shapes and size and frames …….. verbal, emotional , physical, and sexual.
    In my suburb in the 2990’s some blessed parent had an African American speaker talk on drug addiction and recovery in America for the PTA and Community.
    He suggested going into all your children’s friends bathrooms and taking a peek in the cabinet.
    He was if nothing else but prescient.
    But so hard to do!!!!!
    I considered my self lucky when mothers opened up about guns in the house and their safety plan.

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