The use of benzodiazepines among 973 heroin addicts admitted for inpatient detoxification over a 10-year period was assessed in a cross-sectional study. A total of 780 (80.2%) patients had a history of benzodiazepine use; 666 (68.5%) were consuming benzodiazepines at the time of admission and 419 (43.1%) on an almost daily basis. Seventy-five (7.7%) patients fulfilled criteria for sedative-hypnotic abuse or dependence. Consumption of benzodiazepines began after subjects had become addicted to heroin. Flunitrazepam was ranked first by 68.4% of patients, followed by clorazepate (13%), and diazepam (12.4%). The prevalence of benzodiazepine use, in particular flunitrazepam, among heroin addicts is very high. Specific abuse liability studies are needed to determine whether pharmacologic reasons exist to explain heroin addicts' preference for this compound. © 1993.
- heroin addiction