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Decade of DAWN: Benzodiazepine-Related Cases, 1976-1985

NCJ Number
Date Published
68 pages
This report examines 10-year trends (1976 - 1985) in benzodiazepine-related medical emergencies and deaths reported to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) through the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN).
Although the emphasis is on the overall group of benzodiazepines, the report also presents data for alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, clonazepam, clorazepate, diazepam, flurazepam, lorazepam, oxazepam, prazepam, temazepam, and triazolam. In addition, data are reported for a residual category composed of less frequently reported benzodiazepine drugs and benzodiazepines unspecified as to type. Information on the time periods over which the specific drugs were marketed, symptoms for which their use is indicated, and numbers of prescriptions written in 1985 are reported. The introduction includes information on specific benzodiazepines and discusses data source and report format. Following the introduction, the body of the report consists of three major sections followed by appendixes. Two chapters present emergency-room data and medical-examiner data. These chapters present information on episodes that involve benzodiazepines in aggregate. The discussion addresses overall numbers of benzodiazepine-related drug abuse cases, trends in the respective metropolitan areas, changes in the demographic characteristics of patients and decedents, and trends in drug-use characteristics. Medical-examiner data include comparisons with trends in the emergency-room data. Another chapter briefly describes trends for specific benzodiazepines. One appendix contains tables on trends in demographic and drug-use characteristics for all benzodiazepine-related emergency-room episodes and episodes related to specific benzodiazepines. A second appendix presents comparable tables for medical-examiner cases. The remaining two appendixes contain the DAWN data-collection forms used in 1985, the most recent year covered by the data, and a glossary of terms used in discussing the DAWN data. 32 tables and 22 figures