Be on the lookout for this often ignored threat.

What Are Benzodiazepines?


Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs primarily used for treating anxiety, but they also are effective in treating several other conditions. Depressants that produce sedation, induce sleep, relieve anxiety and prevent seizures.

  • Classified as Schedule IV in the Controlled Substances Act
  • High potential for abuse; amplified by other depressants such as alcohol or opiates
  • Often sold and purchased illegally by recreational users
  • Sedative properties that slow down the functions of the central nervous system


Diazepam, Nordiazepam, Oxazepam, Temazepan, Alproazolam, Lorazepam, Clonazepam, Midazolam, Flunitrazolam, Phenazepam

Street Names / Slang Terms

Benzodiazepines —Benzos, Blue V, Candy, Downers, Sleeping Pills, Tranks

Rohypnol — Circles, Forget Me Pill, La Rocha, Lunch Money Drug, Mexican Valium, Pingus, R2, Roach 2, Ruffies, Rophies, Wolfies

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What Do They Look Like?

Benzodiazepines usually come in the form of tablets and capsules, in a range of colors and designs. They are generally stamped with their name and milligram quantity.

How are they Used?

The drug may be sniffed, smoked, injected, or taken orally in tablet or capsule form.

Taken in pill form, users sometimes take Ecstasy at "raves", clubs, and other parties to keep on dancing and for mood enhancement.

Fast Facts About Benzodiazepines


A Deadly Combination.

One study in North Carolina found that the overdose death rate among patients receiving both opioids and benzodiazepines was 10 times higher than among those only receiving opioids. With over forty deaths per day due to the combination, it is a significant problem. Underscoring the dangers, CDC issued prescriber guidelines to avoid prescribing both whenever possible.involving the medication had gone up by 155.9 percent, from 2006 to 2011.

Fentanyl In Disguise.

Xanax, a popular party drug is a benzodiazepine. Unfortunately, illicit manufacturers are disguising Fentanyl as that drug and its users are flirting with a potentially deadly outcome. It is a problem growing in scale as the profits for Fentanyl eclipse those of other drugs and provide a powerful profit incentive to continue the counterfeiting.

Mostly Off The Radar.

Medical professionals and researchers are calling benzodiazepines “the hidden problem” and “our other prescription drug problem”. Benzodiazepines have been largely forgotten in spite of contributing to well over 10,000 deaths in 2017 (CDC). Their addictive and deadly potential plus the fact they often fly under the radar makes them a threat worth a response.

Why choose Psychemedics for Benzodiazepines Testing?

Unrivaled Detection. Unmatched Deterrence. From the first hair testing laboratory with an FDA-cleared Benzodiazepine test.

With the introduction of the drug testing industry’s first FDA 510k-cleared hair test for Benzodiazepines in 2017, Psychemedics continued the innovation leadership that has made it the leader since pioneering the market in 1986.  Unlike the few days urinalysis or oral fluid testing can detect drug use, a Psychemedics detects use over the previous three month period. As a result, short-term evasion tactics are thwarted and habitual users are easily identified.

Psychemedics’ non-invasive testing procedure uses a small sample of hair that is easily collected and shipped to our College of American Pathologists (CAP) and ISO-IEC 17025:2005 certified laboratory. Turnaround on most results is the best in the industry. All Psychemedics drug screens are FDA 510k-cleared.

Psychemedics pioneered hair testing in 1986 and has conducted millions of tests to identify substance abusers and deter usage. In fact, we have detected more drug users for more companies than any hair testing lab in the world. Psychemedics hair testing has been accepted by courts across the country. It is the only hair test with safeguards validated by the FBI to protect those tested from false positive results by differentiating between ingestion versus external exposure to a drug.

The test detects numerous Benzodiazepines and is available as a standalone test or as an extension to Psychemedics’ standard drug panels.

View the press release announcement about the launch of the Benzodiazepines hair test.

Keep Current On Drugs Of Abuse

We have put together an information sheet on Benzodiazepines to help you understand the threats and recognize the symptoms of abuse. You can download the document for your reference or to share with others who may benefit from the information we have shared.


Safeguard Teens from Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are increasingly popular among teens, with XANAX a particularly frequent party drug. This video gives reasons they are a threat to teen futures and should be part of a drug testing program.

Benzodiazepines (Benzos) - A Dangerous Opioid Companion.

Commonly referred to as “Benzos” these drugs are prescribed tranquilizer medications used to treat insomnia and anxiety. Because of their sedating effects, they have a high potential for abuse, especially when used with other substances such as alcohol or opiates. Benzodiazepines, particularly those with a rapid onset of effects, are abused to produce a euphoric effect.

In spite of the risks of mixing drugs, Benzos are often combined with other substances raising the risk of unexpected interactions or deadly outcomes. In particular for teens and young adults, some Benzodiazepines have become popular party drugs where they are often combined with substances such as marijuana and/or alcohol. The abuse of prescription Benzodiazepines has grown at an alarming rate in the United States, contributing to thousands of emergency room visits and overdose deaths each year.

The opioid crisis dominates today’s headlines. And benzos often get lost in the noise. But after reviewing many years of collected data the message from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and CDC is clear:

“Mixing benzodiazepines and other drugs can be deadly.”

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How Do Benzos Kill?

Benzodiazepines can prove deadly when combined with other sedatives or depressants, including alcohol.

Benzodiazepines calm or sedate the user by increasing the brain’s levels of an inhibitory neurotransmitter–GABA.  Any combination of these sedatives can, and often does, impair cognitive functions. Side effects include tolerance (reduced sensitivity) for the drug, cognitive impairment, anterograde amnesia (the inability to remember events that occurred after taking the drug), increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, increased risk of falls and drug dependence.

So why is an Opioid/Benzo combination such a dangerous mix?  In simplest terms it is because both are doing exactly what they are designed to do. Both of these drugs sedate users and suppress breathing meaning they are hitting at the primary cause of death by overdose.

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