Benzodiazepines-Fast facts for workers
There has been a crackdown on prescribing benzodiazepines in Victoria. However they are still able to be obtained illegally. They are often implicated in overdoses, especially when mixed with other depressant drugs.
Benzodiazepines (pronounced ben-zoh-die-az-a-peens) are depressants, also known as tranquillisers. Benzodiazepines are legal only when medically prescribed.
Brand name: Xanax (Alprazolam), Valium, Diaxepam, Serepax, Mogadon, Normison, Temazapam, Sleeping pills and tranquilisers.
Nickname: Benzos, Diaz, Vallies, Tranx, Sleepers, Downers, Serras, Moggies, Normies, Temazes, Bricks, Zannies.
HOW COMMON IS USAGE?
1.6per cent of the Australian population had used tranquillisers/sleeping pills (including benzodiazepines) for non-medical purposes (National Drug Strategy Household Survey, 2013).
Tablets, capsules, injections or suppositories (tablets inserted rectally).
Ingested or sometimes injected.
Calmness, relaxation and sleepiness lasting 2.5 hours (short-acting) to 160 hours (long-acting). Dependence is associated with strong withdrawal symptoms such as vomiting, anxiety and depression.
Slow breathing, cold and clammy skin, blue lips, inability to be roused or woken. An ambulance should be called if any of these symptoms occur.
Other depressants such as alcohol or cannabis, which increase the effects and likelihood of overdose. Under the guidance of a GP can be used to assist with stimulant comedown.
SOME HARM REDUCTION STRATEGIES
Encourage a young person to: -
- Seek medical assistance if they are wishing to stop use of benzo’s as there is a risk involved in stopping suddenly. The 2016 Withdrawal Guidelines are great to help a worker advocate for a young person with a GP.
- Understand that there are ways to inject safely if they are injecting.
- understand the risks involved in mixing other drugs and alcohol, including prescription medication.