Prescription drug overdoses have become alarmingly common in the U.S., with opioid painkillers, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin, among the drugs most frequently making headlines.
New research shows another class of drugs — benzodiazepines or “benzos” — is rising in the ranks of overdose deaths, however.1
Prescriptions for such drugs, which include brand names Valium, Ativan and Xanax, tripled from 1996 to 2013, but this doesn’t fully account for the uptick in overdoses, which quadrupled during that time period.
Anxiety Drug Overdoses Hit Record Levels
Researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York used data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey and multiple-cause-of-death data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to describe trends in benzodiazepine prescriptions and overdose deaths.