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