(NEWSER) – Opioids aren't the only drugs we should be concerned about when it comes to overdoses. ODs involving common anxiety drugs like Xanax and Valium are at an all-time high, and scientists fear plenty of lives will be lost before they fully understand why.
In a new study, researchers found that prescriptions for benzodiazepines—used to treat anxiety, mood disorders, and insomnia in more than 5% of US adults—tripled from 1996 to 2013, while overdoses quadrupled, reports NBC News. In 2013, "benzos" played a role in 31% of the nation's 22,000 prescription overdose deaths, reports STAT. Seeing the rise in ODs outpace the rise in prescriptions suggests "people have been taking them in a riskier way over time," says lead author Marcus Bachhuber.
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