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Reducing Diazepam Prescribing for Illicit Drug Users: A Randomised Control Study

NCJ Number
Drug and Alcohol Review Volume: 24 Issue: 1 Dated: January 2005 Pages: 25-31
Lawrie Elliott; John Glenday; Laura Freeman; Dina Ajeda; Brian Johnston; Morag Christie; Simon Ogston
Date Published
January 2005
7 pages
This study compared two intervention models for reducing prescription benzodiazepine use among illicit drug users.
Problems associated with long-term benzodiazepine use have been well documented, particularly the risk of overdose. As such, the Tayside Drug Problems Service in the United Kingdom, which prescribes benzodiazepine to illicit drug users, implemented mandatory reductions in diazepam prescribing for all patients through a combination of consultative support and a tapered drug schedule. In order to examine the effectiveness of the brief psychological support intervention in assisting in the reduction of diazepam, the current study randomly assigned 53 prescription diazepam users to 1 of 2 methods of psychological support delivery: (1) an enhanced intervention involving skill training and reinforcement, and (2) a limited intervention involving initial skill training and then only advice. Participants were interviewed at baseline and 39 of the 53 participants were interviewed 6 months following intervention. The analysis revealed no statistically significant difference in the reduction rate of diazepam between the intervention groups. However, the enhanced intervention group experienced a reduction in clinical depression scores while the limited intervention group experienced an increase in clinical depression. Overall, the findings suggest that the reduction of prescribed diazepam for illicit drug users may require a long-term approach. Figure, tables, references


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