Expert Warning Over Rise In Benzo Addiction Risks

Expert Warning Over Rise In Benzo Addiction Risks

A leading expert has warned of a crisis fuelled by dangerous benzo and opioid cocktails. These cheap, potent mixes are causing deaths across the UK.

Professor Chris Pudney of the University of Bath told Sky News that benzos combined with synthetic opioids pose a huge risk. When taken together, these depressant substances can easily stop someone breathing.

Many benzo users are unaware these prescription pills now often contain synthetic opioids like nitazenes. These are 10 times stronger than the deadly opioid fentanyl. Just a tiny, unseen amount can kill.

Benzos: An Anxiety Crisis

Benzodiazepines like diazepam and alprazolam are prescribed for anxiety. However benzo addiction makes anxiety worse, says Dr Gabriel Shaya, a specialist at the charity Turning Point. Withdrawal also causes rebound anxiety. This spiral can lead to depression and suicide.

Since 2012 benzo-related deaths have doubled to around 500 a year. The number of people seeking addiction treatment has trebled in three years. Experts link this to long NHS mental health delays, forcing self-medication.

“It’s Russian Roulette”

“You take the wrong mix, it could kill you,” says Christopher, a benzo addict for over 10 years. “It’s Russian roulette.” He cares little for the risk: “If I can get them, I get them.”

Dealers make pills with unknown synthetic opioids and sell these benzos on the street for just 10-20p each. “I could do 1000 tomorrow, that’s how easy it is,” explains Christopher.

Action To Protect The Vulnerable

Experts want more awareness so users understand the risks of street benzos. “Those people need protecting,” says Professor Pudney. Education is vital as many users “don’t actually know what they’re taking.”

There are also calls to improve mental health services to reduce crisis demand for benzodiazepines. Rehab capacity urgently needs expanding to treat rising addiction.

Tackling the supply is difficult but regulating synthetic opioid distribution could reduce this lethal cutting agent. Stronger legal deterrents may also curb ruthless dealers targeting the desperate and vulnerable.

Photo by Alexander Grey on Unsplash

Zoom Testing is a leading UK drug testing company and a supplier of Drug Test Kits.

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