Research has shown that prescriptions for sleeping pills such as Valium and Xanax are distributed more often in the poorest parts of England.
Scientists at Warwick University analyzed how many benzodiazepines and Z drugs were issued by GPs throughout the country in 2017.
They discovered that an average of 288 prescriptions for the drugs were issued for every 1,000 patients in the most disadvantaged areas, such as Grimsby.
For comparison, the average rate was around 198 for every 1,000 patients in operations from more prosperous areas, including Berkshire.
The addictive drugs – also used to treat anxiety – can only be taken for up to four weeks to prevent patients from becoming addicted, according to the guidelines.
Warwick University scientists found no fewer than 288 prescriptions for the drugs being issued for every 1,000 patients in the most disadvantaged areas, such as Grimsby. In contrast, the rate was around 198 for every 1,000 patients in more prosperous places, including Berkshire
But charities estimate that up to 40 percent of people who use benzos, such as Valium and Xanax, will develop a dependence for six weeks.
They are fast-acting. But the danger lies in their unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which means that some patients remain addicted for years.
Withdrawal symptoms include trembling, nausea, sleeping problems, hand shaking, sweating, confusion, and aggravated anxiety.
The study, published in the journal Family Practice, also found higher prescription rates in the coastal areas of England.
Dr. Saran Shantikumar and his team believe that this is partly due to coastal areas where generally older people live.
It is unclear why poorer regions in England eat more of the medicines.
However, the researchers think this may be because patients are more likely to use prescriptions in the longer term or use higher doses in such areas.
The Warwick study compared prescription rates (left) for clinical commissioning groups (CCG & # 39; s). Dr. Saran Shantikumar and colleagues then analyzed the socio-economic status of all areas (right)
Charities estimate that up to 40 percent of people who use benzos, such as Valium and Xanax, develop dependence for six weeks
IS THE UK IN A BENZO CRISIS?
Benzodiazepines, including Valium, Ativan and Xanax, are prescribed twelve million times a year, according to the UK Addiction Center.
It said that the number of people addicted to benzodiazepines in the UK is vague, but it can be 1.5 million, leaving them on the addictive scale only after alcohol.
A study published in the British Journal of General Practice published in July 2017 suggested that more than a quarter of a million people in the UK are likely to use more dependence-forming benzodiazepine and Z drugs (BZD) than the recommended use 2-3 weeks after viewing data from a survey of general practices in Bradford, UK.
Most people get their medicine from their doctor, but others can get it from the internet, from street dealers or through friends and family.
In children, cases of addiction to benzodiazepines have increased by 96 percent, from 161 in 2016 to 2017, to 315 in 2017 to 2018, Public Health England revealed in 2018.
Experts have previously warned that benzos such as Xanax and other anxiety disorders have become popular with teenagers for recreational use in recent years.
Meanwhile, campaigners have long fought for the problem of dependence on prescribed pills.
Benzodiazepines work by delaying the functioning of the brain by improving the action of a certain chemical in the brain, GABA or gamma amino butyric acid.
Underlying medical conditions that can be associated with benzodiazepine prescription can also occur more often in more disadvantaged areas, they said.
The Warwick study compared the prescribing rates of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), which are responsible for general practice.
Dr. Shantikumar and colleagues then analyzed the socio-economic status of all areas, which often cover entire provinces.
Each CCG and GP practice received a deprivation score based on income, employment, health, disability, education, crime and housing barriers.
The results showed that the percentage of prescribing benzo & # 39; s and Z drugs was about 45 percent higher in the most disadvantaged GP practices and CCG & # 39; s.
It is estimated that around 300,000 people in the UK use long-term recipes for benzodiazepines or Z drugs.
A Public Health England report published earlier this year said that 1.4 million people in England received a benzodiazepine prescription in 2018.
Most patients have prescribed the medication because sleeping tablets are older – but patients with anxiety and alcohol addiction can be much younger.
Over the years, Benzo & # 39; s have been associated with a higher risk of falls, traffic accidents due to reduced cognition and even dementia.
Dr. Shantikumar said: “It is difficult to quantify how much of a benzodiazepine addiction problem is because it is not being published properly.
& # 39; The recent PHE report has confirmed that many people use benzodiazepines, a small number of whom have been prescribed for some time.
& # 39; From my experience and others in clinical practice, we know that there are people who have been taking these drugs for a long time and have difficulty getting rid of them. & # 39;
He added that doctors should look into alternative options for patients who have used benzos for a long time.
Dr. Shantikumar added: & I would encourage anyone affected by or worried about drug dependence to go to the doctor who can discuss the problem and consider alternative treatments.
& # 39; The Frank website is also a fantastic source of information and local services, and has a 24-hour hotline that you can call for confidential advice. & # 39;
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