Maia Szalavitz, writing for VICE:
Prescriptions go up. Overdoses skyrocket. People start to freak out. In response, US government officials and physicians clamp down on the medical supply of the drug in question. But that seems to only make things worse: An illegal substance – many times more powerful than those commonly given to patients – hits the streets as the death toll stubbornly continues to climb.
If this sounds like the story of the American opioid crisis, culminating in recent years with the proliferation of super-deadly fentanyl, that’s because it is. But it’s also the story of the Scottish response to an eerily similar problem with the anti-anxiety medications known as benzodiazepines (a.k.a. benzos), which include Xanax (alprazolam), Valium (diazepam) and Ativan (lorazepam), among others.
Americans like benzos, too.
Cutting back on prescriptions only exacerbates the problem.