‘Benzo-dope’ may be replacing fentanyl: Dangerous substance turning up in unregulated opioids

published on August 11, 2021 by Lianping Ti and Samuel Tobias in The Conversation

Canada has seen a drastic shift in the unregulated drug supply with the emergence of benzodiazepine-adulterated opioids (also known as “benzo-dope”). Benzodiazepines have been detected in as many as 60 per cent of overdose deaths in British Columbia.

Recent data from B.C. has observed a steady rise in opioids testing positive for benzodiazepines between August 2020 and April 2021, from a low of five per cent to a high of 25 per cent.

British Columbia is not alone in seeing this trend: data from Toronto has shown that this issue is even more prominent. During the same time period, there was an increase from 45 per cent to 57 per cent in samples containing etizolam, a specific benzodiazepine-like compound.

Commonly prescribed benzodiazepines include drugs like Xanax and Valium. These medications treat a variety of conditions such as anxiety and insomnia and have been used since the 1960s…

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