Support MIA

MIA relies on the support of its readers to exist. Please consider a donation to help us provide news, essays, podcasts and continuing education courses that explore alternatives to the current paradigm of psychiatric care. Your tax-deductible donation will help build a community devoted to creating such change.

$
Select Payment Method
Personal Info

Credit Card Info
This is a secure SSL encrypted payment.

Billing Details

Donation Total: $20

8 COMMENTS

  1. i certainly hope not. these drug “crises” are clearly social problems with a number of contributing factors, very few of which get as much coverage as the “crisis” itself.

    its also worth noting that while benzodiazepines are far from ideal, people prone to “psychosis” (I guess…a particularly distressing and socially unacceptable form of misery and/or madness…) often do well with benzodiazpeines. Here and there, from the 60s-80s, there were studies that showed that standard doses of benzodiazepines could calm people down and reduce “symptoms” with far less misery than the neuroleptics. Speaking as a “patient” whose experienced this…I’d say that careful use of benzodiazepines can reduce or sometimes even eliminate the need for a neuroleptic (assuming, of course, one has the option…).

  2. Benzos have always been a crisis on the level of the poly-drug (opioid) crisis. They are both deeply intertwined and have undergone a parallel path of exponential growth in prescriptions. .

    There is documented evidence that benzos are involved in fatal opiate drug overdoses at LEAST 30% of the time.

    My best estimate woulld be that this figure is closer to 50% of the time. Benzos are highly sought after drugs by those people using opiates on a regular basis.This is because of the synergism between the two drugs where benzos will greatly magnify the effect of the “high.”

    In fact benzos are often THE decisive drug in the cocktail that ends up killing people. This is because most opiate addicted people know how to use their opiates, but often they forget how many benzos they consumed on any given day. It is only a matter of time before the “Perfect Storm of Addiction” will come around.

    Richard

  3. The use, one might say overuse, of Benzos was a crisis (and scandal) years ago, and it remains such to this day. Much of the the present opioid crisis has involved people mixing opioids with other drugs, and among the most lethal of mixes are opioids and benzos. We’ve got the same problem with pain killers (the category including opioids) and benzos. Once illicit drugs may now be attained legally with a prescription. Direct to consumer advertising is a big part of the problem. When doctors should be using psychoactive chemicals much more conservatively, the drug companies are making their pitch to patients to pressure the doctor into giving them this or that pill. Until the advertisements are addressed to medical MDs instead of patients (i.e. consumers/customers), you are going to have this issue. Doctors need to be trained not to reach for the prescription pad as a first resort, and the consumer should be getting his or her advice from a trained MD rather than from a drug company salesperson or an internet or television advertisement. Regulations are not likely to do the trick until someone starts realizing that what we have is not an opioid or a pain killer problem, but what we have is a prescription drug problem, and so regulating opioids or pain killers alone is not going to take care of the matter.. I am then saying at the end of this comment what I was saying at the beginning of it. Benzos are not the next crisis when, just like the handing out of speed like candy to inattentive school children, the use of benzos represents an ongoing and continuing crisis in itself, and is a part of this overall prescription drug problem that is so pervasive in society today.

  4. More and more and more people will just turn to alcohol, so perfectly legal and cheap anywhere you go.

    The DEA cracking down on opiods is exactly why there’s been a huge increase in the amount of herion (most of it laced with deadly fentanyl) on the streets, and it’s just that which is driving the death tolls, not prescriptions for norco or oxycontin, and yes that gateway drug “1 in 4″ become addicts” is a myth and has been refuted by researchers. And nevermind that the DEA’s job is to fight Richard Nixon’s war on drugs, not to get involved in people’s healthcare, no wonder they don’t seem the slightest bit disturbed by this massive increase of herion+fentanyl on the streets, it just ensures their survival as tax payer funded professionals for another generation.

    I’m as anti-psych drug as I think a person can get while still remaining reasonable, but benzos should be left alone. They’ve saved my life at least a few times. There are many people that at some point during the year will reach a breaking point that could lead immediately to suicide or impulsively violent behavior, and without that xanax or klonopin or whatever benzo to reach for to knock them down a bit for awhile, they and whoever their victims would be (including, especially those that love them) are doomed.

    Lest they make it to the liquor store and down a bottle of bourbon in time, but of course everyone knows that alcohol is good for you and has never messed people’s lives up or caused society any trouble let alone killed anyone.

  5. No one should deny the fact that benzos might have a valuable role for someone in acute crisis, including some type of psychotic break. BUT they should only be used for a short period of time, probably no more than one week, if that. Any longer period of time has a HUGE risk of causing major dependency, addiction, and/or withdrawal problems.

    There are millions of benzo victims (mainly women) in the world today searching desperately for a way to safely taper off of these dangerous and harmful drugs.

    Jeffrey, you are dead wrong to say that it is a myth that the over prescription of opioids has fueled the opioid crisis. I have seen figures of at least 60% of all heroin addicted people since the late 1990’s came to use the drug AFTER having developed an iatrogenic dependency on opioids from dangerous prescribing patterns by doctors, encouraged and pushed by Big Pharma.

    There are a hundred million prescriptions every year for benzos, and a sizeable percentage of these drugs end up in the street and purchased by, and/or given to opioid addicted people. There is a lot of blood on the hands of certain top leaders in medicine. psychiatry, and Big Pharma.

    AND there will be no justice and/or an end to these crimes in our society unless. and until, we live in a world that outlaws these behaviors and puts people like this in jail.

    Richard

  6. I think this is yet another example of (in my mind…) the need to de-couple the psych -drugs- from Mental Health, Inc. Benzodiazepines became a big deal because they’re so much safer than the barbiturates and the various non-barbiturate anxiolytics and sedatives floating around in the 50-70s. They’re awesome for occasional use for agitation, “psychosis,” what have you…just to simmer down, basically. Thing is…

    I suspect a former shrink deliberately created a dependence on benzodiazepines in my case, when I was in my late teens. sounds paranoid, I know, but…it lines up with what I’ve learned about psychiatry, even what I’ve read in psych studies. 1st: prescribe benzodiazepine to foster good rapport. Then…rapid taper benzodiazepine, to “punish” the person/”patient” for…I don’t know. Any number of “sins,” non-compliance probably being the big one. Point is…

    even though I -hate- the human costs of drug abuse, I think legalization of all fun drugs is the answer, I really do. If someone is on edge and they need an Ativan, they should be able to buy one without dealing with a nefarious shrink or an over worked family doctor. If someone is in pain and they want a Vicodin, they should be able to get one without a permission slip from a doctor worried about the DEA breathing down his neck.

    Giving people easy access to drugs would reduce Mental Health, Inc.’s power considerably. If they cannot control the drugs we take, they cannot force drugs on us, and they cannot play the name game of calling some drugs “medicines” and other drugs “addictive drugs,” then perhaps they’ll be forced to get real jobs, as their industry withers and dies.