Researchers Emphasize Dangers of Benzos
In 2013, benzodiazepine drugs, which are sedatives like Xanax, Valium and Klonopin, accounted for 31 percent of overdose deaths. According to research done by the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Montefiore Health System and the Perelman School of Medicine at University of Pennsylvania, these drugs are heavily prescribed and have been responsible for an increase in overdose rates over the last two decades. Their research was published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The researchers analyzed data from The Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and Multiple Cause of Death Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The combined data showed that between the years of 1996 and 2013, prescriptions for benzodiazepine drugs increased 67 percent. In 1996, there were 8.1 million prescriptions filled and by 2013, this number was 13.5 million. Along with the increase of prescriptions, there was an increase of overdoses related to these drugs. The overdose rates increased from 0.58 deaths per 100,000 people to 3.14 deaths per 100,000 people.
These drugs are so widespread, that 1 in 20 adults in the United States fill a prescription of them each year. Because of their popularity, the researchers emphasize that the public should be educated on the dangers of the drugs.