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Clonazepam--A Drug Used for Medical and Criminal Purposes

NCJ Number
Problems of Forensic Sciences Volume: 71 Dated: 2007 Pages: 297-302
Ewa Janowska; Piotr Adamowicz; Ewa Chudzikiewicz; Wojciech Lechowicz
Date Published
6 pages
This paper reports on a 4-year (2003-2006) retrospective study of routine examinations of blood samples for the presence of narcotic drugs, psychoactive substances, and medicines, with a focus on the presence of clonazepam (5-[2-chlorophenyl]-1,3-dihydro-7-nitro-2H-1,4-ben-zodiazepin-2-one), a benzodiazepine that exhibits anticonvulsive activity.
The presence of benzodiazepine derivatives was confirmed in 167 cases analyzed at Poland’s Institute of Forensic Research. The following substances were detected: diazepam, clonazepam, oxazepam, nordiazepam, nitrazepam, estazolam, alprazolam, midazolam, and medazepam. Clonazepam was one of the benzodiazepines found most frequently in biological material, with its presence detected in 57 cases. In 53 blood samples, the concentration of clonazepam was in the therapeutic range (8-80 ng/ml). In four cases, the concentration of clonazepam was in the toxic range (over 100 ng/ml). Three of the cases involved the serving of an alcoholic beverage “enriched” by clonazepam in order to commit a robbery. Another three cases involved the ingestion of clonazepam by juveniles in order to achieve stimulation and euphoria. This drug is popular among teens who mix it with alcoholic beverages during parties in order to obtain a faster “effect.” This paper advises that clonazepam is a compound that acts similarly to alcohol, so it should not be used without ongoing consultation with a doctor, particularly when the user regularly drives vehicles. 4 figures, 1 table, and 5 references


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