Irreversible Overdoses, Robberies, and Sex Assaults: The ‘Terrifying’ Rise of Benzo Dope

published on November 18, 2021 by Manisha Krishnan in VICE

About two years ago, Danielle took some “down”—a street name for fentanyl—and woke up in an underground parking lot behind the wheel of her car.

Danielle, who does not want her real name used because she uses drugs, has used opioids on and off for decades, but she wasn’t accustomed to passing out while driving. It happened several times.

“I was driving asleep, literally. I would wake up in places, in underground parking lots, like, ‘How did I get here?’ And it’s super dangerous, yet you can’t figure it out,” she told VICE World News. “It was horrifying.”

It was only later that Danielle began to suspect the drugs she’d taken contained benzodiazepines. She is one of many Vancouver-area drug users who has unintentionally taken “benzo dope”—drugs laced with benzos, or tranquilizers. The trend, which typically sees fentanyl cut with synthetic benzos, has spread in British Columbia since 2019 and is showing up in Toronto and certain pockets of the U.S., experts told VICE World News…

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