“A recent essay in the New England Journal of Medicine titled “Our Other Prescription Drug Problem” highlights massive growth in the use and abuse of benzos in the U.S., including the fact that the number of deaths attributed to benzodiazepine overdose has risen sevenfold over the past two decades.
That’s not altogether surprising when you consider that the number of prescriptions written for benzodiazepines increased 67 percent to 13.5 million per year in 2013 from 8.1 million in 1999.
Three-quarters of deaths attributed to benzodiazepines also involve an opioid, resulting in a stern warning from the Food and Drug Administration in 2016 about the danger of combining the medicines.
Stanford psychiatrist Anna Lembke, lead author of the New England Journal of Medicine essay, calls our overprescribing and overconsumption of benzos a “hidden epidemic,” because it remains underpublicized in the glare of the opioid crisis. “Even if we get the opioid problem under control, the benzodiazepines will still be there,” she told me in an interview.”
Source: NPR.org – April 26, 2018