Benzodiazepines (BZO)

What is it?

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed drugs that helps in lessening anxiety, helping you sleep, and keeping you from panic attacks.[1] They have become the substitute for barbituates, which are more dangerous with overdose.[1] Benzodiazepines tend to be safe, even when overdosed, but still have some addictive qualities.[1]

Benzodiazepines are related the γ (gamma) amino butyric acid, or GABA, neurotransmitters and the two bind to the same receptors in the brain.[1] GABA is the body’s most significant inhibitory neurotransmitter in the body’s central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord.[1] By taking in benzodiazepines in addition to your body’s GABA results the symptoms that are associated with benzodiazepines, and continued use could possibly result in addiction.

In addition to legitimate prescription usage, benzodiazepines have also been used as a date rape drug, due to their inhibitory functions.[2]

Some prescription drugs include:

  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Iorazepam (Activan)[1]
  • Mixazolam (Versed)
  • Triazolam (Halicon)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)[2]

Common names include:

  • Benzos
  • Downers
  • Tranks


What are the health risks?

Note that benzodiazepine abuse tends to be correlated with abuse of other drugs, particularly opiates. Thus, symptoms may not be exactly like the ones listed below.

Short term symptoms (of overdose)

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Weakness (associated with muscle relaxation)
  • Poor judgment and decision making
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination
  • Respiratory arrest (and death)[2]

Long term effects

  • Seemingly the same as the short term symptoms


How is it used?

Benzodiazepines are typically used in pill form.