My Addiction to Benzos Was Harder to Overcome Than Heroin
Benzodiazepines like Xanax are leading to opioid overdoses. It just happened to me.
Once I awakened out of my very first heroin overdose, I had been submerged within an abysmal bathroom. I discovered my boyfriend, his own voice yelling at me to awaken.
As soon my eyes peeled open, he raised me from the bathtub and pulled me close. I couldn’t move, so he took me to our futon, dried off me, dressed my pajamas, and swaddled me in my favorite blanket.
We were shocked, silent. Despite the fact that I had been using hard drugs, I did not want to perish at just 28 yrs old.
Once I looked around, I was stunned at how our cozy Portland apartment felt more like a crime scene in relation to home. Instead of the typical soothing odor of lavender and incense, the air smelled like peppermint and smoke out of smoking heroin.
Our java table had art equipment, however today it was littered with syringes, burned spoons, a bottle of this benzodiazepine called Klonopin, and also a baggie of black tar heroin.
Mark explained after we took up smoking, I’d stopped breathing and turned blue. He had to do something fast. There was no time for 9-11. He offered me a shot of this opiate overdose modification Naloxone that we’d gotten out of the needle market.
Used to don’t remember, however, I must have — although I knew that combining Klonopin with heroin may be a lethal combination.
Both drugs are central nervous system depressants, therefore taking them together can cause respiratory collapse. Despite this danger, many heroin users still require benzos half one hour or so before shooting heroin because it has a calming effect, intensifying the high.
Even though my overdose scared kept using. We felt invincible, immune from consequences.
Other people died of overdoses — perhaps not us. Each time that I thought things couldn’t become worse, we all resorted to new depths.
Parallels between the opioid and benzo epidemics
Rather than highlight such threats, media policy often blamed overdoses on heroin laced together with fentanyl. It seemed like there is only room for one outbreak in the media.
Happily, media accounts have recently started to improve awareness about the parallels between your opiate and benzodiazepine epidemics.
A recent essay from the New England Journal of Medicine warns about the deadly consequences of benzodiazepine overuse and abuse. Specifically, deaths attributed to benzodiazepines have increased sevenfold over the previous two decades.
At the Identical period, benzodiazepine prescriptions have skyrocketed, with a 67 percent rise between 1996 and 2013
Although benzodiazepines such as Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan are highly addictive, and they’re also extremely effective for treating epilepsy, stress, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal.
After benzos were introduced in the 1960sthey were touted as a miracle medication and integrated into conventional society.
Back in 1975, doctors recognized that benzodiazepines have been exceptionally addictive. The FDA classified them as being a regulated substance, recommending that benzodiazepines only be used from two to a month to stop physical dependence and addiction.
From chasing benzos to retrieval
I was prescribed benzodiazepines for six years, though I had been frank with my doctors about my own history of alcoholism. As soon as I transferred to Portland, my new psychiatrist prescribed me a daily dose of pills for example 30 Klonopin to treat anxiety and 60 temazepam to address insomnia.
Each month that the pharmacist double assessed the prescription slips and warned me that these medications had been a dangerous combination.
I will have heard this pharmacist and quit taking the pills, but I loved the way they made me feel. Benzodiazepines smoothed my borders: blotting out traumatic memories of past sexual abuse and attack and also the pain of a fracture.
In the beginning, benzos immediately blotted out my pain and anxiety. I stopped having anxiety attacks and slept eight hours a night instead of five. However, after a few months, they also blotted out my passions.
My boyfriend said:”you will need to stop taking those pills. You’re a casing yourself, I don’t understand what happened for you personally, but this really isn’t you.”
Benzodiazepines have been a rocket boat launching me to my favored realm: oblivion.
I poured his energy into”chasing the dragon.”
I called a physician to tell her that I was going on holiday and wanted my pills ancient. When someone broke into my vehicle, I reported that my pills were stolen to have an early refill. This was a lie. My bottle of benzos didn’t leave my side, so they certainly were constantly tethered to me personally. I knew it was a textbook’enthusiast’ behavior. But I had been too far gone to do anything about it.
After some years of using benzos after which heroin, I got to a place where I had been able to really make your choice to detox. The doctors told me I would no longer be prescribed benzos and I moved into instant withdrawals.
The benzo withdrawals were worse compared to cigarettes — and even heroin. Heroin withdrawal is notoriously debilitating and difficult, with obvious physical side effects such as profuse sweating, restless legs, shaking, and vomiting.
I was angry at the physicians who had originally prescribed me considerable benzos for its initial few years of my retrieval. But I really actually don’t blame them because of my dependence.
As a way to genuinely heal, I had to quit blaming and start accepting responsibility. I talk about it to break up the silence and stigma surrounding addiction.
Each moment we share our stories of success we reveal that healing is possible. By raising awareness around benzo and opioid dependence and recovery, we are able to save lives.