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Anxiety Drug Leading to Increased Substance Abuse


According to a government study released last Thursday, admissions for treatment of benzodiazepine abuse have increased three-fold in the United States between 1998 and 2008. This, of course, is accentuated by the fact that other admissions for substance abuse rose by a mere 11 percent in that same time span.

Benzodiazepine is a class of drugs that is generally utilized in efforts to treat anxiety, insomnia and seizure disorders. They include Valium, Xanax and Librium, among several other lesser known medications. Abuse of these drugs can lead to addiction and death.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), admissions for treatment of benzodiazepine abuse among patients above the age of 12 increased from 22,400 in 1998 to 60,000 from 1998 to 2008. Further, the admissions made up 3.2 percent of all substance abuse admissions in 2008.

The results of the study indicated that most of the admissions involved white males between the ages of 18 and 34.

"The misuse of benzodiazepines along with other prescription drugs is fueling the rise of treatment admissions," SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in an agency news release.

"Prescription drug misuse is dangerous and can even be deadly. Everyone has a role to play in helping to prevent prescription drug misuse. Simple steps such as locking up medications and proper disposal of unused medications are easy ways people can contribute to reducing the problem," she said.

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