Another Kind of Drug Victim
In The Recovery Place blog addiction education series this week, we are taking a further look at the benzodiazepine class of drugs, or benzos.
If you or a loved one is fighting addiction, then you understand that drugs and alcohol have a wide and destructive reach. Benzos claim another kind of victim that you may not have thought much about.
Rohypnol is a benzo that isn’t prescribed or even manufactured in the United States. In the 1990s it began to be smuggled in by drug traffickers, and a new kind of victim was created by this “date rape” drug.
Roofies (a common slang term for Rohypnol) began to be slipped into the drink (often in an alcoholic drink in a bar or party setting) of the victim in order to make them unaware of what is happening or unable to resist a sexual assault.
Rohypnol, like many benzos, is a powerful hypnotic drug, meaning it causes sleep or sedation.
Roofies are also used as a “party drug” to enhance the effects of alcohol, or to counteract the side-effects of stimulant drugs. Many cocaine or methamphetamine addicts use Rohypnol to soften the rebound “crash” of these drugs as they begin to wear off.
Recreational drug users use benzos for the side-effects that they have: sedation, drowsiness, dizziness and a relaxed feeling.
Ativan (lorazepam is the generic name) is another benzodiazepine important to the treatment of a variety of medical disorders, but also very high up on the list of benzos that are misused and abused.
Ativan is frequently used for anxiety disorders and specific kinds of seizures. Physical and psychological dependency to Ativan can occur after only a few weeks of use.
Addiction to prescription pain relievers is on the rise in the United States, Canada and many other countries. These addictions may come about from the legitimate treatment of a medical condition, or from the recreational use of a teenager who finds some leftover Ativan or Codeine in a parent’s medicine cabinet.
Benzos like Ativan are among the most highly misused and abused prescription drugs. And withdrawal from these drugs can be tough, as tough as withdrawing from heroin, and should be done under a physician’s guidance.
Klonopin (clonazepam) is another frequently prescribed benzodiazepine that is very effective in treating anxiety, panic disorders and some types of seizures. It has legitimate uses that have to be very carefully weighed against the hard fact that prolonged use can cause a physical or psychological dependency.
Known as “K-pin” in street drug terms, Klonopin abuse is on the rise among high school students in the United States. It is cheap to buy on the street, and sometimes too readily available when friends or siblings have been prescribed Klonopin for anxiety or other problems. It is often combined with Vicodin or other narcotic medications by teens.
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