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Benzodiazepine Use Among Young Attendees of an Irish Substance Treatment Center

Murphy, Kevin Daniel BPharm; Byrne, Stephen PhD; McCarthy, Suzanne PhD; Lambert, Sharon PhD; Sahm, Laura Jane PhD

doi: 10.1097/ADM.0000000000000025
Original Research

Objective: To describe the demographic characteristics of those service users attending Matt Talbot Services, and their current and past substance use, and to explore the use of benzodiazepines among this group.

Method: There were 198 service users who attended a substance misuse treatment center in Cork, Ireland, between January 2005 and August 2011.

Results: Benzodiazepines had ever been used by 51.0%, and of these, 55.8% were regular benzodiazepine users. The mean age of first use was 14.9 ± 1.4 years. Regular users of benzodiazepines were regular users of significantly more substances (3, interquartile range [IQR] = 2-3) when compared with nonregular benzodiazepine users (1, IQR = 1-2). Regular benzodiazepine users showed more behavioral signs (12, IQR = 10-14) than nonregular users (9, IQR = 7-12). Physical signs were significantly different between regular (8, IQR = 6-11) and nonregular (5, IQR = 3-10) users.

Conclusions: The effects of benzodiazepine misuse affect the individual, their family, and society as a whole through hospitalization, substance treatment, and crime. Identifying regular benzodiazepine users can help reduce the burden of benzodiazepines.

From the Pharmaceutical Care Research Group, School of Pharmacy, University College Cork, College Road, Ireland (KDM, SB, SM, LJS); Department of Pharmacy, Mercy University Hospital, Cork (LJS); Pharmacy Department, Cork University Hospital (SM); and Matt Talbot Services, Rockview Trabeg Lawn, South Douglas Road, Douglas, Cork Ireland (SL).

Send correspondence and reprint requests to Laura Jane Sahm, PhD, Clinical Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Care Research Group, School of Pharmacy, University College Cork, College Road, Ireland. E-mail:

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

Received October 08, 2013

Accepted January 04, 2014

© 2014 American Society of Addiction Medicine