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Benzodiazepines and Opioid Abuse — a Deadly Combination

Friday,Mar, 31, 2017 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

A presentation will be given on benzodiazepines, a widely prescribed drug that has had rising, deadly effects when mixed with growing opioid abuse, will be given Friday morning in Norwalk City Hall.

This presentation is appropriate for all community members, but doctors can receive “CEU” [continuing education unit] credit for professional certificates or licenses.

Are we ignoring an escalating benzodiazepine epidemic amongst adolescents and young adults?  Deaths from benzodiazepines (BZDs) overdose have grown at a faster rate than deaths by opiate overdose for the past 13 years.

OCME [Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Connecticut] 2016 data shows that 28 percent of the overdose deaths last year were due to a combination of opioids, BZDs and other drugs.  Fairfield County has the second-highest rate of BZD prescriptions in Connecticut. 

Benzodiazepine pills are used primarily for treatment of anxiety; a controlled substance; some of the more well-known benzos are Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin

SIDEBAR: More on Benzodiazepines

From the Mayo Clinic website:

“Benzodiazepines are risky drugs; that’s the bottom line,” says Dr. Larissa Loukianova, medical director of Mayo Clinic’s Comprehensive Pain Rehabilitation Center.

Dr. Loukianova, who is not part of the study, says patients need to be educated about the risks of overdose associated with benzodiazepines, also known as “benzos,” especially when taken in conjunction with opioid medications for chronic conditions.

“Both benzodiazepines and opiates are brain depressants. Biological interactions between benzodiazepines and opiates can lead to respiratory failure,” Dr. Loukianova explains. “Patients taking both benzodiazepines and opioids have a 15-fold increase in risk of death, compared with those who are not taking those medications.”

An estimated 1 in 20 American adults fills a benzodiazepine prescription during the course of a year. The drugs are prescribed for conditions such as anxiety, mood disorders and insomnia.

Friday, March 31 at Norwalk City Hall (Community Room) 125 East Avenue (Exit 16 off of I-95):

  • 9:30 to 10 a.m. — Sign in and check out resource tables
  • 10 a.m. to noon —  Presentation from John Hamilton, CEO of Recovery Network of Programs  and Craig Allen MD, Medical Director of Rushford.  Please see flyer below for details on the presenters and what they will cover.  Both are recognized for their expertise and as excellent presenters.
  • NOON to 12:30 p.m. — Questions, discussion and check out resource tables

*CEUs are provided from CCB and CT-NASW.  See details below.

 Presentation packets will be provided.

 REGISTRATION: Contact Giovanna Pisani at Email: gpisani@hscct.org. OR Register online (see below)

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Friday,Mar, 31, 2017
9:30 am - 12:30 pm
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Norwalk City Hall
125 East Ave.
Norwalk, CT 06851 United States
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