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Drug Alcohol Depend. 1999 Jun 1;55(1-2):63-8.

Characteristics of benzodiazepine abuse in methadone maintenance treatment patients: a 1 year prospective study in an Israeli clinic.

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  • 1The Dr Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Clinic for Drug Abuse Treatment and Research at the Tel-Aviv Elias Sourasky Medical Center, Israel.


We aimed to study the prevalence patterns and course of benzodiazepine (BZD) abuse in an Israeli methadone maintenance (MMT) clinic using repeated random observed urine analysis as well as self-report data. Lifetime and current prevalence of BZD abuse were found in 66.3 and 50.8% patients, respectively. It was found that 44.6% of patients who abused BZDs during their first month of treatment ceased to do so after 1 year, while 27.4% who had not abused BZDs at the beginning of MMT did so after 1 year in treatment. Flunitrazepam was the most commonly abused BZD (92.9%), followed by diazepam (54.3%) and oxazepam (38.6%). Most of the patients swallowed BZDs (92.8%), 42.9% also smoked or snorted them while 8.6% injected BZDs intravenously. BZDs were used as self-medication for alleviating emotional problems rather than for recreational or other reasons. We conclude that BZD abuse is a significant clinical problem in heroin addicts both before entering and during MMT. MMT may have a positive as well as a negative influence on BZD abuse with the former being more prevalent.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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