Whether we want to admit it or not, prescription pill abuse among Generation Y has been quickly spiraling into a worldwide epidemic. Last year, in Britain alone, 342 deaths from drug poisoning (including benzodiazepines like Valium) were reported. While in America, one in nine young adults took prescription drugs without a prescription.
Despite drugs such as Valium, Xanax, and tramadol being controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 as Class C substances, many problems continue to arise. A shocking report by the Home Affairs Committee in December named “doctor shopping” as a continuous problem. The report also found that doctors and nurses were self-prescribing or giving drugs to friends and family, while seven London pharmacies were selling prescription drugs under the counter.
Nick Barton, chief Executive of drugs charity Action on Addiction, explained that while benzodiazepines are often used to help people cope with anxiety, people oftentimes end up with far worse anxiety than when they initially began treatment. As a result, as many as 1.5 million people are addicted to prescription drugs in the U.K. and deaths result from overdosing on tramadol, benzodiazepines, and diazepam.
Barton further elaborated on how Action on Addiction helps to treat young benzodiazepine addicts in their clinics. “You would have to find out what kind of levels the person is taking. People are not always accurate about that,” he says. “Then you’d start to withdraw them in a tapered way, sometimes substituting another drug that isn’t quite as addictive.” However, the withdrawal process is not a walk in the park, with accompanying symptoms; such as: panic attacks, seizures and depression.