“they will panic”

Dawn Farm has seen a marked increase in clients with recent histories of benzodiazepine (drugs like Xanax, Valium and Klonopin) use. These drugs are especially noxious because”

  • it is easy for people to develop physical dependence without realizing it;
  • withdrawal can be dangerous and involves seizures,;
  • more serious withdrawal symptoms often do not begin for a week, leading users to think, “It can’t be withdrawal. I haven’t used in a week.”;
  • less severe withdrawal symptoms like sleep disturbance, agitation and stress-sensitivity can last weeks and, of course, relief is one pill away.
One community mental health center has been overwhelmed by the problem and is taking action:

Gayle Mink, a nurse practitioner at a community mental health center here, had tired of the constant stream of patients seeking Xanax, an anti-anxiety drug coveted for its swift calming effect.

“It is such a drain on resources,” said Ms. Mink, whose employer, Seven Counties Services, serves some 30,000 patients in Louisville and the surrounding region. “You’re funneling a great deal of your energy into pacifying, educating, bumping heads with people over Xanax.”

Because of the clamor for the drug, and concern over the striking number of overdoses involving Xanax here and across the country, Seven Counties took an unusual step — its doctors stopped writing new prescriptions for Xanax and its generic version, alprazolam, in April and plan to wean patients off it completely by year’s end.

Read the rest at the NY Times.

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