In The Guardian today:
They used to be called ‘mother’s little helpers’, pill prescribed to stressed suburban housewives as a miracle pick-me-up. Now benzodiazepines are proving popular again, this time as an alternative to heroin.
The tranquilliser boomed in the Sixties and Seventies as a supposedly safe alternative to barbiturates. Mick Jagger and Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones immortalised it in ‘Mother’s Little Helper’, their 1966 song about a housewife addicted to prescribed drugs because of the pressures of domestic life. Prescriptions peaked at 30 million in 1979, but evidence grew that ‘benzos’ could lead to addiction and horrific withdrawal symptoms, prompting a backlash.
However, their use is on the rise again because heroin is in short supply in some parts of the country or its purity is compromised, according to drugs campaigners. They say that benzos such as diazepam can be far more addictive than heroin and potentially lethal if withdrawn abruptly or mixed with alcohol and methadone. But there is a dire lack of provision for addicts seeking help. (read the rest of the article here)
Benzos were the first highly addictive and highly abused drug of the psychiatric industry. There are dozens of withdrawal groups online. More than for any other drug, even though, contrary to popular belief, neuroleptics, mood stabilizers and antidepressants can produce equally vicious withdrawal syndromes. I’ve lived through all of them now, tackling the benzos now as the final drug I come off of.
People haven’t figured out how bad antipsychotics and mood-stabilizers are yet, though it’s pretty well understood that antidepressants can be a nightmare. But they will. Give it another decade and there will be hundreds of withdrawal groups for all these drugs.
Our cultures are creating hundreds of thousands of “accidental addicts.” People who unwittingly become hooked to drugs they have no idea can destroy their lives when they are told that they will help them. And some do for a short time for some people. In general they don’t help forever, and often they makes matters worse. We all have to do what we can to learn what these drugs can do to us before we start taking them. And we can’t rely on our doctors. They truly still, in general, have no clue what they are doing.
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