Benzodiazepines are psychoactive drugs known as sedatives or tranquilizers to treat anxiety disorders, insomnia, seizures, and muscle relaxants. Benzodiazepines are also commonly used in surgical procedures preoperatively. Unfortunately, these drugs are highly addictive.
Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the GABA neurotransmitters in the brain, which suppress the activity of the nerves. As central nervous system depressants, benzos produce a calming effect when taken.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are highly addictive narcotic medications that work in the brain to help relieve pain. Either synthetic or naturally derived from the poppy plant, opioids and opiates bind to the opioid receptors in the brain to depress the central nervous system. They tell your body that you are not really in pain. When taken, these drugs produce a sense of calm, relaxation, and euphoria.
Dangers of Mixing Benzodiazepines With Opioids
Over the last several years, this country has been experiencing an opioid epidemic. Every day approximately 130 people die from overdose deaths due to opioids. Part of these overdose deaths is caused by individuals mixing opioids and benzodiazepines.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse “Benzodiazepines and Opioids” reports that:
In 2019, 16 percent of overdose deaths involving opioids also involved benzodiazepines, a type of prescription sedative commonly prescribed for anxiety or to help with insomnia. Benzodiazepines (sometimes called “benzos”) work to calm or sedate a person by raising the level of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. Common benzodiazepines include diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), and clonazepam (Klonopin), among others. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can be unsafe because both types of drugs sedate users and suppress breathing—the cause of overdose fatality—in addition to impairing cognitive functions. Unfortunately, many people are prescribed both drugs simultaneously. In a study of over 300,000 continuously insured patients receiving opioid prescriptions between 2001 and 2013, the percentage of persons also prescribed benzodiazepines rose to 17 percent in 2013 from nine percent in 2001. The study showed that people concurrently using both drugs are at higher risk of visiting the emergency department or being admitted to a hospital for a drug-related emergency. (NIDA)
Both opioids and benzodiazepines are central nervous system depressants. When taken alone, they suppress breathing; combined, breathing is significantly suppressed and will stop a person’s heart.
Mixing Benzo With Opioids is a Deadly Combination
Abusing these drugs even further elevates this risk. Often, individuals will combine the two drugs for the euphoric effect it produces, not realizing that it is a deadly combination. In addition, due to the drugs’ sedative-like effect, a person may become too sedated to seek help or go to sleep and never wake up again.
Mixing any drugs is dangerous. These days when purchasing illegal drugs off the street, you don’t know what you are getting. The increase in fentanyl that has been going around makes using any one drug dangerous. When that is combined with other drugs, you have a recipe for disaster.
Treatment for Benzodiazepine And Opioid Addiction
If your drug use interferes with your daily life, and you cannot function without your drug of choice, you have a problem. Addiction is a treatable disease, but the result without treatment is death.
Overcome Benzo and Opioid Abuse at Recreate Life Counseling
South Florida has many different options for treatment. Recreate Life Counseling, located in Boynton Beach, offers evidence-based addiction treatment. We pride ourselves on offering the best-individualized treatment to meet the needs of men, women, and families. At Recreate Life Counseling, our cutting-edge addiction treatment will lead you on the road to long-lasting recovery. Have you had enough? Reach out to us today. Our specialists are available around the clock and here to help you.