Benzodiazepine Use and Misuse Among Patients in a Methadone Program

Center for Integrative Medicine University of Maryland School of Medicine 520 W, Lombard St, East Hall, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA.
BMC Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 2.24). 05/2011; 11(1):90. DOI: 10.1186/1471-244X-11-90
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Benzodiazepines (BZD) misuse is a serious public health problem, especially among opiate-dependent patients with anxiety enrolled in methadone program because it puts patients at higher risk of life-threatening multiple drug overdoses. Both elevated anxiety and BZD misuse increase the risk for ex-addicts to relapse. However, there is no recent study to assess how serious the problem is and what factors are associated with BZD misuse. This study estimates the prevalence of BZD misuse in a methadone program, and provides information on the characteristics of BZD users compared to non-users.
An anonymous survey was carried out at a methadone program in Baltimore, MD, and all patients were invited to participate through group meetings and fliers around the clinic on a voluntary basis. Of the 205 returned questionnaires, 194 were complete and entered into final data analysis. Those who completed the questionnaire were offered a $5 gift card as an appreciation.
47% of the respondents had a history of BZD use, and 39.8% used BZD without a prescription. Half of the BZD users (54%) started using BZD after entering the methadone program, and 61% of previous BZD users reported increased or resumed use after entering methadone program. Compared to the non-users, BZD users were more likely to be White, have prescribed medication for mental problems, have preexistent anxiety problems before opiate use, and had anxiety problems before entering methadone program. They reported more mental health problems in the past month, and had higher scores in anxiety state, depression and perceived stress (p < .05).
Important information on epidemiology of BZD misuse among methadone-maintenance patients suggests that most methadone programs do not address co-occurring anxiety problems, and methadone treatment may trigger onset or worsening of BZD misuse. Further study is needed to explore how to curb misuse and abuse of BZD in the addiction population, and provide effective treatments targeting simultaneously addiction symptoms, anxiety disorders and BZD misuse.


Available from: Kevin W Chen, Jun 03, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Prescription drug abuse has reached an epidemic level in the United States. The prevalence of prescription drug abuse escalated rapidly beginning in the late 1990s, requiring a significant increase in research to better understand the nature and treatment of this problem. Since this time, a research literature has begun to develop and has provided important information about how prescription drug abuse is similar to, and different from the abuse of other substances. This introduction to a special issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment on prescription drug abuse provides an overview of the current status of the research literature in this area. The papers in this special issue include a sampling of the latest research on the epidemiology, clinical correlates, treatment, and public policy considerations of prescription drug abuse. Although much has been learned about prescription drug abuse in recent years, this research remains in early stages, particularly with respect to understanding effective treatments for this population. Future research priorities include studies on the interaction of prescription drugs with other licit and illicit substances, the impact of prescription drug abuse across the lifespan, the optimal treatment for prescription drug abuse and co-occurring conditions, and effective public policy initiatives for reducing prescription drug abuse.
    Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 08/2014; 48(1). DOI:10.1016/j.jsat.2014.08.004 · 3.14 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Benzodiazepines (BDZs) abuse was found to cause diverse harmful effects among MMT patients. The current study evaluates prevalence rates of BDZ usage during 19.5 years in MMT, and its relation to patients’ long-term retention in treatment. Methods: All 787 opiate addicts who were ever admitted to the Adelson MMT clinic in Tel Aviv between 1993 and 2012 were studied. Observed and random urine results for BDZs usage were taken a few times every month. Positive for BDZ was defined in each month if at least one of the urines tested positive. Long-term retention was studied using Kaplan Meier analyses. Results: BDZ prevalence among the MMT patients (ranged from 26 patients in 1994, and 300 to 350 since 2009) was about 35-40% in the last few years, with a “peak” of 61% followed by low rate of 25.4%. Followed up for up to 19.5 years, those who were negative to BDZ upon admission to MMT stayed longer in treatment (mean 8.5y, 95% Confidence Interval [CI] 7.6-9.4) than those who were positive to BDZ when admitted (mean 6.9y, 95% CI 6.2-7.7) (Kaplan Meier analyses p=0.01). Conclusion: BDZs abuse is highly prevalent among MMT patients. Abuse of BDZ on entry to treatment predicts worse MMT outcome. High and low rates of BDZ abuse may also be attributed to staff tolerance of this abuse; thus, we strongly recommend a strict attitude by staff in order to reduce patients’ harm.
    The Israel journal of psychiatry and related sciences 01/2015; 51(4):285-289. · 0.72 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of non-opioid drug use among opioid-addicted, buprenorphine injecting individuals in Georgia, during and after a 12-week course of buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone®) or methadone. Randomized controlled trial with daily observed Suboxone® or methadone and weekly counseling, urine tests and timeline followback (TLFB) in weeks 0-12 and 20, and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI) at weeks 0, 4, 8, 12, 20. Of the 80 patients (40/group, 4 women), 68 (85%) completed the 12-weeks of study treatment and 66 (82.5%) completed the 20-week follow-up. At baseline, injecting more than one drug in the last 30days was reported by 68.4% of patients in the methadone and 72.5% in the Suboxone® groups. Drug use was markedly reduced in both treatment conditions but there were significant differences in the prevalence of specific drugs with more opioid (1.5 vs. 0.2%; p=0.03), less amphetamine (0.2 vs. 2.8%; p<0.001) and less marijuana (1.7 vs. 10.2%; p<0.001) positive urine tests in the methadone vs. Suboxone® groups. At the 20-week follow-up, TLFB results on the 34 that continued methadone or the 3 on Suboxone® showed less opioid (5.6 vs. 27.6%; p<0.001), illicit buprenorphine (2.7 vs. 13.8%; p=0.005), benzodiazepine (13.5 vs. 34.5%; p<0.001), and marijuana (2.8 vs. 20.7%; p<0.001) use than the 29 who did not continue opioid substitution therapy. Despite small but significant differences in opioid and other drug use, both treatments were highly effective in reducing opioid and non-opioid drug use. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 10/2014; 50. DOI:10.1016/j.jsat.2014.10.003 · 3.14 Impact Factor