Benzodiazepines are prescription depressants that are medically used for anxiety and stress reduction, to produce sedation to augment sleep, and to help prevent seizures. The drug comes in pill form, syrup or as an injectable. Pharmaceutical names include Valium, Xanax, Restoril, Ativan and Klonopin. Street names include benzos, downers, and tranks.

Benzodiazepines abuse is frequently associated with teenagers and young adults who take the drug orally or crush it up and snort it to get high. Benzodiazepines abuse is particularly high among heroin and cocaine abusers. Additionally, opioid users often co-abuse benzodiazepines to enhance euphoria.

Benzodiazepines affect the body in the following ways:

  • Induces a sensation of euphoria
  • Can induce vivid or disturbing dreams
  • Produces amnesia, hostility, and irritability

Overdoses are a great risk with the use of benzodiazepines, with many overdoses leading to death. Signs of a person at risk of an overdose include shallow respiration, clammy skin, dilated pupils, weak and rapid pulse, and in the extreme, coma.