February 26, 2020
“Prescribers and parents don’t realize the abuse potential. These drugs produce highly attractive sensations, and adolescents may start seeking the drugs after their prescriptions run out.”
~Dr. Carol J. Boyd, MSN, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor at the University Of Michigan School of Nursing
When most people picture “prescription medication overdoses”, they probably think of opioid painkillers. They don’t realize that 3 out of every 10 fatal prescription overdoses involve benzodiazepine medications. This is the class of sedating medications that are typically prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and several other conditions.
It is estimated that 20% of American teenagers suffer with clinical anxiety. Teenagers who have been prescribed anti-anxiety or sleep medications are 12 times more likely to illegally use another person’s benzodiazepines.
The danger of overdose is a greatly increased when “benzos” are used in combination with opioids – 75% of all overdose deaths involving benzodiazepine medications ALSO involved opioids.
Benzodiazepines are popular drugs of abuse, and teenagers will often message or speak about their misuse in coded slang terms. If you know the nicknames that teenagers use for benzodiazepine-class medications, it may help you recognize a problem before it’s too late.
What’s “too late”?
Between 2001 and 2014, the number of benzodiazepine-related deaths in America increased by a factor of 5, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Ambien (Zolpidem): Prescribed for insomnia
Ativan (Lorazepam): Prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal
Valium (Diazepam): Prescribed for anxiety, insomnia, alcohol/benzodiazepine withdrawal, and restless leg syndrome
Klonopin (Clonazepam): Prescribed for seizures, and panic disorder
Xanax (Alprazolam): Prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders
If you hear your teenage child using any of these slang terms, you might want to dig a little deeper. In and of itself, teen drug slang does not positively indicate that they are abusing benzos, but it DOES mean that you need to investigate.
If you find out that your teenager is abusing benzodiazepines, then you must compel or convince them to participate in a structured program of recovery before their disease gets worse.
Teensavers is a nationally-accredited drug rehab program in Orange County, California. If your adolescent, teenage, or young adult child is misusing prescription benzodiazepines, call Teensavers today and talk with a trained intake specialist who can help you decide what to do next.
Teensavers offers individually-crafted treatment plans that address the disease of addiction on multiple levels. Best of all, Teensavers can help transform your child’s life by offering a program of recovery that is tailored to their needs as a teenager, not an adult. Some
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