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Thursday, December 20, 2012

Benzodiazepines and Opiate Treatment Admissions

Today, rarely do we see people who are only addicted to one substance, more people than ever are seeking treatment for addiction to two and sometimes even three different substances - especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals. It is often the case that people are taking benzodiazepines (sedatives) hand in hand with opiate medications (pain relievers).

Admissions to drug and alcohol treatment facilities for both benzodiazepines and narcotic pain relievers jumped 569.7 percent between 2000 and 2010, according to a new government report. The new report was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); their findings showed that 33,701 people received treatment for addiction to both medications in 2010, reported Science Daily.

“Clearly, the rise in this form of substance abuse is a public health problem that all parts of the treatment community need to be aware of,” SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde said in a news release. “When patients are battling severe withdrawal effects from two addictive drugs, new treatment strategies may be needed to meet this challenge. These findings will help us better understand the nature and scope of this problem and to develop better approaches to address it.”

About half of the people treated for addiction to both substances had a psychiatric disorder. Of those who needed treatment:
  • 91.4 percent were non-Hispanic whites.
  • 49.2 percent were women.
  • 66.9 percent were people ages 18 to 34.
38.7 percent of those with this combined addiction started using the drugs at the same time. 34.1 percent first became addicted to narcotic pain relievers, while 27.1 percent started with benzodiazepines.

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