DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s no secret the Miami Valley is battling a heroin epidemic.
Health officials say the opiate problem is overshadowing other addictions like prescription pills.
Overdose deaths from prescription pills like Xanax and Klonopins are soaring, according to a national report. Montgomery County health officials say their seeing the increase too.
The drug class is called Benzodiazepines, sometimes called “benzos”. They are a class of psychoactive drugs and are used to treat anxiety, insomnia and mood disorders.
Montgomery County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services (ADAMHS) officials say it’s an issue that typically starts in the doctor’s office.
“When you’re finding you need higher and higher doses to receive the same effect, you are already in the addiction cycle. So, that becomes a huge issue. The problem with a lot of those medications is that they will get them from friends, they will get them from family, doctos will prescribe or quite frankly, they’ll sell them,” said Dr. Neal Dunsieth, chief clinical officer, ADAMHS.
Since 1996 health experts say the death rate from these drugs have more than quadrupled.
Dr. Dunsieth says more than half of the heroin users in the Miami Valley are also mixing the drug with benzos. According to the CDC, overdose deaths involving a benzo were also used with other medications, alcohol or illicit drugs.
1 in 20 adults will fill a benzo prescription during the course of a year.