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A Medical Malpractice Bomb Waiting to Explode: The Brewing Benzo Epidemic

In the past couple of years, rarely did a news cycle pass in which there wasn’t reporting about the opioid epidemic in the United States. Only very recently has even scant attention been paid to another prescription drug epidemic boiling under the surface across the United States today. This yet-to-be widely publicized epidemic in the U.S. involves a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines, more commonly referred to as “benzos.”

Benzos technically are tranquilizing pharmaceuticals generally prescribed by doctors to treat:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Seizures
  • Convulsions

In this day and age, people pop benzos to deal with an inability to fall asleep at night, before making a presentation at work, in advance of taking a flight, and to manage many other commonplace issues.

Benzo Epidemic Explodes: Women Particularly Vulnerable to Benzo Overdose and Death

Although the typical person may not be aware of rapidly growing benzo epidemic, a majority of people have heard of one or more of the more common benzo brand names:

  • Xanax
  • Valium
  • Klonopin

Benzos first became available in about 1960, seen as a welcome replacement to highly-addictive and over-prescribed barbiturates. In fact, within about 15 years benzos were so widely favored by doctors and patients they became the most-prescribed medications in the world.

The first red flags about benzos were raised in the United Kingdom and some other countries in the late-1970s and early-1980s. These warnings about benzo dependency and related issues were roundly ignored in the United States by the medical community. Between 1999 and 2013, there was an astounding 67 percent increase in individuals prescribed benzos by doctors in the U.S. Simultaneously, the increase in benzo overdose death rates were astronomical, starting in 1996.

Women have been hit particularly hard when it comes to death by benzos. Between 1996 and 2017 (the last year a full set of data is available), the overdose death by benzo rate for women between the ages of 30 and 64 skyrocketed a frightening 830 percent. This statistic alone should have been enough for the typical physician practicing in the United States to understand that something was wildly amiss with benzo use. Overall, the benzo death rate has gone from less than one per 100,000 people to over five per 100,000 individuals at this juncture in time.

Deaths from Benzo Prescriptions in Treatment of Opioid an Alcohol Addiction

Physicians have been broadly prescribing benzos for use in the treatment of patients with alcohol and opioid addictions. Unfortunately, this represents another area in which medical malpractice issues are coming to the forefront. The relapse rate is particularly high for individuals who’ve abused or been addicted to alcohol or opioids.

When a doctor has prescribed benzos as part of a patient’s addiction treatment protocol, that patient can be set up for fatal consequences. Extremely close medical monitoring of a patient must occur, and it oftentimes does not. If a patient relapses and begins to use alcohol or opioids once more, a potentially deadly situated is created. The combination of these depressants many times proves fatal. Indeed, nearly 25 percent of all opioid overdoses in the United States also involve the use of medically prescribed benzos.

Medical Malpractice Lawyer and Your Legal Rights

If you’ve suffered health complications because of a benzo prescription, including addiction to the medication, you may be in a position to obtain compensation for your losses. If you’ve lost a family member because of a benzo overdose, you may also be in a position in which you are entitled to compensation for your losses. The first step in understanding your important legal rights is to consult with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer on the legal team at The Doan Law Firm. You can connect our firm and schedule a consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer any time, day or night, by calling our benzo hotline at (800) 349-0000.

We are a nationwide law firm, with offices from coast-to-coast in the United States. In addition, we can schedule a virtual consultation with you online. There is no charge for an initial consultation.

The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to you. We never charge a fee unless we win for you.

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