Aim: To establish prevalence of benzodiazepine use in population presenting to Tier 3 Substance Misuse services in Surrey. Benzodiazepines are prescribed for a variety of conditions. They are also illicitly used to self-medicate and have a propensity to lead to dependence.
Methods: Survey of retrospective electronic data of 1315 patients on initial presentation to Tier 3 Substance Misuse services across Surrey for period between 01 July 2012 and 30 June 2013.
Results: 7.9%(104) of total sample reported problem use of Benzodiazepines on initial assessment. 20.03% (25), 36.53% (38) and 44.23% (41) of these reported benzodiazepine as their first, second and third drug of concern respectively. 80%(84) related to Diazepam use. Others related to Temazepam, Nitrazepam, Lorazepam and Etizolam.74% (77) were male and 26%(27) were female.
15.89% (209) of total sample reported dual diagnosis. 25.96% (27) reporting problematic benzodiazepine use were documented with dual diagnosis.
20.19% (20) were class A drug users involved in criminal justice system. These represented 19%(21) of total (110) class A drug users involved in criminal justice system assessed by the services.
Conclusions: In Surrey sample men were 3 times more likely to be associated with problematic benzodiazepine use compared to women when presenting to services. Nearly 1 in 4 with problematic use of benzodiazepines had dual diagnosis. 1 in 5 of the class A users involved with criminal justice system reported problematic use of benzodiazepines. The above highlights importance of screening for mental disorders in problematic benzodiazepine use and for problem benzodiazepine use among class A drug users.
Dr Marian DeRuiter, Surrey & Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
No conflicts of interest declared.