“Sedative Overdose Deaths Surge”

Deaths from legal drugs now exceed deaths from illegal drug. Elvis Presley believed that large doses of prescribed drugs were safe to take and they killed him. America’s worsening drug epidemic has focused primarily on deaths from opioids (drugs made from opium), which includes heroin and prescription painkillers such as OxyContin. However, according to a new study by researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, overdose deaths have also soared among the millions of Americans using benzodiazepine drugs, a class of sedatives that includes Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin. An estimated 1 in 20 U.S. adults fills a benzodiazepine prescription during the course of a year. The drugs are prescribed for conditions including anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia. They found that the death rate from overdoses involving benzodiazepines, also known as ‘benzos,’ has increased more than four–fold since 1996, which is a public health problem that has gone under the radar. “Overdoses from benzodiazepines have increased at a much faster rate than prescriptions for the drugs, indicating that people have been taking them in a riskier way over time.”

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