Global Smart Update 18: Non-medical use of benzodiazepines: a growing threat to public health?
UNODC. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
Non-medical use of prescription benzodiazepines has been a long-established problem that has been associated with a large number of overdose deaths worldwide. Most recently, the concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids has been linked to a number of deaths that occurred in the recent opioid crisis, featuring in a rising number of fatalities and adverse events in North America and in Europe. In recent years, several new psychoactive substances (NPS) belonging to the benzodiazepine class have also emerged on the market and are being sold under street names such as “legal benzodiazepines”, “designer benzodiazepines”, and “research chemicals”. The use of such NPS belonging to the benzodiazepine class and the non-medical use of pharmaceutical benzodiazepines pose a great threat to public health.