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August 13, 1973

Abuse of Benzodiapezine Tranquilizers

Author Affiliations

Orange, Calif

JAMA. 1973;225(7):749. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220340053027

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To the Editor.—  The experience of Kaufman and Brickner (224:1190, 1973) regarding the abuse of benzodiapezine tranquilizers is similar to my own. While I was head physician of a psychiatric emergency service at Harbor General Hospital (1970-1973), I encountered many such cases in alcoholic patients.Usually these drugs were being consumed in larger doses and more frequently than prescribed. The abuse had continued for many years, and a concomitant abuse of alcohol usually existed.Interestingly, such patients often tried to discourage the prescription of neuroleptic drugs, such as chlorpromazine. They displayed an eagerness to obtain benzodiazepines. Some of them described a subjective state while on these drugs similar to that obtained from alcohol.This last observation may explain, in part, the eagerness to obtain and tendency to abuse benzodiazepine tranquilizers in patients with a history of alcoholism.