Call 413.540.1234 to
schedule an appointment
CONCERN/EAP: 413.534.2625
Billing questions? Call: 413.540.1212
CRISIS: 413.733.6661

Drug Addiction
Resources
Basic InformationLatest News
Insurers Making It Harder to Treat Opioid Addiction: StudyMeth Abuse Driving Big Spike in Syphilis CasesPoor Whites Bear the Brunt of U.S. Opioid Crisis, Studies FindOpioid OD Deaths Are Saving Lives Through TransplantationMaking OxyContin 'Tamper Proof' Helped Spread Hepatitis CAHA: Marijuana, Cocaine May Play Role in Young Americans' Rising Stroke RateAnother Opioid Scourge: Infection-Related StrokesOpioid Danger to Newborns Varies By RegionAs More Smoke Pot, Are Their Jobs at Risk?Big Pharma's Marketing to Docs Helped Trigger Opioid Crisis: StudyMore Americans Mixing Opioids With SedativesOpioids Now More Deadly for Americans Than Traffic AccidentsFatal Drug ODs Soaring Among Middle-Aged Women: CDCPostpartum Opioid Rx May Lead to Persistent Use: StudyOpioid Overdose Deaths Triple Among Teens, KidsMore Evidence That Abuse of Xanax, Valium Is on the RiseCould Pot Harm Men's Sperm?Opioids May Help Chronic Pain, But Not MuchFentanyl Now the No. 1 Opioid OD KillerNew Approach to Opioid Crisis: Supervised Heroin Injection Programs?Opioids Plus Other Drugs a Deadly Mix for Heavy UsersEven Wisdom Tooth Removal May Spur Opioid AddictionMeth, Opioid Use in Pregnancy on the RiseOpioids Increasingly Tied to Deaths of Pregnant WomenMany Drugstores Won't Dispense Opioid Antidote as RequiredAHA: Meth Use Producing Younger, Harder-to-Treat Heart Failure PatientsOver 2 Million Americans Have Hepatitis C; Opioids Help Drive SpreadMany Young Drug Abusers Not Tested for Hepatitis C, Study FindsCoffee Shop Workers on Front Lines of Opioid CrisisReports Warn of Growing Opioid Crisis Among Seniors'No Documented Reason' for 1 in 3 Outpatient Opioid Rxs: StudyStates Struggle With Onslaught of Opioid OD DeathsU.S. Deaths From Suicide, Drugs Surpass DiabetesDoctors Write Fewer Opioid Scripts After Learning of Overdose DeathNumber of Opioid-Addicted Women Giving Birth QuadruplesAs Opioid Epidemic Rages, Painkiller Prescriptions Don't DropFDA Warns of Deaths Tied to Tainted Synthetic PotEven Once-a-Week Pot Smokers Have More Cough, PhlegmDeath Certificate Data May Miss Many Opioid ODs: StudyKids Are Overdosing on Med Meant to Fight Opioid AddictionHave Insurers Played a Role in Opioid Crisis?If Opioid Addicts Survive OD, Other Hazards Lie Ahead: StudyWhen DEA Cracked Down on Opioids, Abusers Moved to Black Market: StudyPot, Opioids Now Rival Alcohol as Factor in Driver DeathsPatterns of Potential Misuse Help Assess Risk of Opioid OverdoseOpioid Crisis Means More Newborns With Hepatitis C, But Few Get TestedSubstance Use Disorders Linked to Conversion to SchizophreniaPeople With Opioid Use Disorder Have High Suicide RateMany Opioid Overdoses May Be SuicidesFirst Opioid Lawsuit Targeting Pharmacy Benefit Managers
Links

More Americans Mixing Opioids With Sedatives

HealthDay News
by -- Robert Preidt
Updated: Jan 17th 2019

new article illustration

THURSDAY, Jan. 17, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- As if the opioid crisis wasn't already bad enough, new research shows a sharp rise in the number of Americans taking dangerous combinations of opioids and sedatives.

These sedatives, known as benzodiazepines, are prescribed for pain, insomnia and anxiety. And another class of similar medications, called Z-drugs, are also being taken with sedatives at alarming rates, the researchers found.

For the study, Canadian researchers analyzed data from eight U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cycles between 1999 and 2014. During that time, combination use of opioids and benzodiazepines increased 250 percent, and combination use of benzodiazepines and Z-drugs rose 850 percent.

In 2014, the rate of benzodiazepine and opioid co-usage had reached 1.36 percent, and the rate of benzodiazepine and Z-drug co-usage was 0.47 percent, the investigators found.

The findings are cause for concern because these combinations pose serious risks, including breathing problems and death, said study author Nicholas Vozoris. He is an associate scientist at Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto.

"While the proportions may seem small, these percentages at a population-level correspond to millions of people, and the growth of these numbers is alarming," Vozoris, a sleep medicine doctor, said in a hospital news release.

The 1.36 percent rate of benzodiazepine and opioid co-usage amounts to about 4.3 million people, while the 0.47 percent rate of benzodiazepine and Z-drug co-usage amounts to about 1.5 million people.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration "has gone as far as to issue its strongest form of safety warning about this suboptimal prescribing practice and mixing of opioids and benzodiazepines," he noted.

Vozoris said there's lot of confusion about benzodiazepines and Z-drugs among both patients and health care providers.

"I wanted to understand the trends in use of such worrisome drug combinations and which types of individuals were more likely to receive such drug combinations," he explained.

Benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin) and lorazepam (Ativan), while Z-drugs include zaleplon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien) and zopiclone (Imovane).

"There are doctors and members of the public often not realizing that Z-drugs are very similar in action to benzodiazepine drugs -- sometimes patients get put on both a benzo and a Z-drug and think they're two very different drugs," Vozoris said.

The report was published Jan. 17 in the journal Sleep.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about opioids and benzodiazepines.