A Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine addresses the nation’s, “Other Prescription Drug Problem.” The epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose has appropriately garnered national attention and led to concerted efforts to reduce overprescribing of opioids, a major cause of today’s drug crisis. By contrast, there has been little effort to address inappropriate prescribing of benzodiazepines – controlled substances such as alprazolam, clonazepam, diazepam, and lorazepam. Clonazepam (traded as Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and alprazolam (Xanax) are among the most sold drugs in this class of widely prescribed anti-anxiety medications. Public health officials warn the pills should be used only in the short term and should never be mixed with opioids or alcohol.
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