More than 30 percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve 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. Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids. The quantity obtained also increased from 1.1 kg to 3.6 kg lorazepam-equivalents per 100,000 adults. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines can be unsafe because both types of drug sedate users and suppress breathing—the cause of overdose fatality—in addition to impairing cognitive functions. In 2015, 23 percent of people who died of an opioid overdose also tested positive for benzodiazepines (see graph). These days, it’s not uncommon to turn on the news and hear about a celebrity death involving a mixture of drugs and alcohol. Deaths from mixed drugs date back decades — most notably, “Wizard of Oz” star Judy Garland and American music icon Elvis Presley. More recently, we’ve seen it happen to Whitney Houston, Health Ledger, and Anna Nicole Smith. The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) reports that drug overdose deaths have spiked 102 percent from 1999 to 2000. In 2010, there were over 38,000 deaths from drug overdoses, and 60 percent of those deaths involved prescription drugs (as opposed to heroin or cocaine). Of the 22,000 deaths involving prescription drugs, 30 percent involved benzodiazepines such as Xanax. Aside from how addictive it is, Xanax is relatively safe when taken on its own, and the amount needed to overdose is very high. However, it’s much easier to overdose on Xanax when it’s combined with other drugs, such as alcohol. When combined, Xanax and alcohol can cause various side effects, some of which can be fatal.
Xanax is commonly known as an anti depressant prescribed by psychiatrists and has many terrible side effects. Like any other drug it can cause “Xanax addiction” and has a terrible effect on ones mind and body. But Xanax being used as a party drug and mixed with alcohol? Most people who claim to suffer from depression will be prescribed Xanax, they’ll take a Xanax “bar” and they may think they feel more relaxed and not so stressed, but in reality Xanax is a mind altering drug that is permanently damaging to the mind and body. We all know the effects that alcohol has on one’s body and the damage it does. Taking Xanax already has high risks of seizures and death, alcohol is typically, not as severe but can lead to death when too much is consumed. Consuming too much alcohol by itself may cause a person to “black out,” or experience a period he does not recall after sobering up. When Xanax is introduced into the mix, the risk for this dangerous occurrence is greatly enhanced. Marion Downey, NDARC Communications Manager: Professor Shane Darke has recently completed a study which found a big increase in the number of sudden deaths and overdoses where the benzodiazepine alprazolam was involved. Professor Shane Darke: Benzodiazepines are tranquilisers and sleeping tablets. So people use them if for instance they have anxiety disorders, to calm them, or if they’re having trouble sleeping, to aid in sleep. Shane Darke: We did the study because we were seeing evidence amongst drug users, and there was also anecdotal evidence, that there was a problem with this particular drug. And we thought well, what we need to look at is – I suppose you could call it – the pointy end of this: is it being involved in deaths? What we looked at is every death going to the Department of Forensic Medicine in Sydney that had alprazolam detected in their blood. So this is any unnatural death or any sudden or unnatural death in which the drug was detected. Shane Darke: The main findings were there had been a major increase in the number of cases presenting with alprazolam and, more importantly, a major increase in the number of cases where alprazolam was contributing to death. By 2012, there were 86 cases, representing 1 in 20 cases that presented to the Department of Forensic Medicine.
Xanax, a benzodiazepine prescription drug, is often used to aid in relieving symptoms like anxiety. Although the use of Xanax has been effective on countless occasions, the use of this drug is stirring up a number of concerns—one of the most severe being death caused by a Xanax overdose. Xanax is a schedule IV substance, which means it is only available through a physician but it also has a high risk for abuse and misuse. However, the illicit use of this drug is becoming more common—especially in teens and young adults. Benzodiazepine deaths accounted for roughly 9,000 deaths in 2015—showing an increase of almost five percent since 2002. Xanax is a popular prescription drug in the benzodiazepine class that was released in 1981 to treat panic disorders. Also known by its generic name, alprazolam, it works to depress the central nervous system and help reduce anxiety. Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug – also known as a benzodiazepine, or benzo – that is used to help people with anxiety disorders or seizures. It is the brand name version of the generic drug alprazolam. Used under the advice of a doctor and as instructed, this substance is generally considered safe. Regular users develop tolerance and will require higher amounts of the drug over time to achieve the same effect as when they started using it. Many people who build tolerance to the drug also become dependent and may develop the type of compulsive use that characterizes addiction. Once a person has become dependent, it can be very risky to stop taking Xanax abruptly. These symptoms are not only uncomfortable, but can be dangerous or even deadly, especially in the case of long-term use or abuse of Xanax. The symptoms include: Seizures are the most dangerous symptom and can result in death. It is possible to minimize these symptoms and get through detox safely by working with a medical professional.
Common benzodiazepines include diazepam Valium, alprazolam Xanax, and. prescription was associated with increased risk of drug overdose death in a. One report from CNN stated that Michael Jackson was taking 10 Xanax bars a night just before his death and that it was a decrease in his consumption from 30.