Anti-anxiety pill overdoses multiply during the pandemic | News – Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee

Nashville-Davidson, Tennessee 2021-10-22 18:11:00 –

Nashville (WSMV)-Death from overdose of synthetic anxiety medications that surged at an alarming rate during a pandemic.

A big awakening call was needed to turn around Chad Wilkerson’s life.

“I was put in jail for two attempted murders,” Wilkerson said. “It was at that point that I was finally able to do it. Something was clicked and it seemed like” I need help. ” “

He said his addiction started with alcohol and then turned into prescription drugs.

“I found benzodiazepines early on in things like Xanax and Valium, like high school, and I started abusing them because it was something people really didn’t realize I was there. “Wilkerson explained.

Benzodiazepines are commonly prescribed and highly addictive drugs for anxiety and can have life-changing consequences if abused.

“We have seen a total increase in overdose rates.” Dr. Chapman Sledge, Chief Medical Officer at Cumberland Heights at the Drug Dependence Treatment Center, said the sociality brought about by the pandemic. He said isolation made people more uneasy. It is a deadly combination, coupled with the recent rise in illegal benzodiazepine production. “If you buy on the street … it could be fentanyl, it could be designer benzo, or it could be a combination of the two,” Sledge explained.

Between 2019 and 2020, deaths from overdose of illegally produced benzodiazepines increased more than six-fold.

“People think that what is prescribed to you by a doctor or alcohol is safe and it really can’t be far from the truth,” Wilkerson said.

Wilkerson, now an advocate of recovery care at Cumberland Heights, said he wants you to know what you know now.

“Hey, you’re not alone. Many people feel exactly what you’re feeling right now,” Wilkerson said.

Sledge added that 90% of benzo overdose is associated with opioids. Due to the very high statistics, the CDC did not strongly recommend prescribing benzodiazepines and opioids together in 2016. I’m with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and videos, 4WARN weather forecasts, weather radar, special research reports, sports headlines and more from News4 Nashville.

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