Benzo analogues and New Psychoactive Substances

Benzodiazepine ‘Analogues’

The dictionary definition of an analogue is ‘A compound with a molecular structure closely similar to that of another’

So what is the issue with benzo analogues?

You might be familiar with these:-

Chemical Name Generic/Brand Name
Chlordiazepoxide Librium
Clonazepam Rivotril
Diazepam Valium
Loprazolam Dormonoct
Lorazepam Ativan
Lormetazepam

Nitrazepam

Mogadon

 

Oxazepam Serenid-d/forte
Temazepam Stilnoct
Zopiclone Zimovane
   

…but it’s not that simple …

Now we are seeing problems with:-

Brotizolam Depas
Clotiazepam Triazolam
Etizolam Estazolan
Elilaan Alprazolan
Elizest Medazepam
Etizola Oxazolam
Sedekopan Cloxazelam
Pasaden Haloxazolam

Etizolam is head and shoulders above the rest in drug use, and seems the drug of choice for most people who are using Benzo analogues. It is not known what the equivalency to Diazepam is, so this makes assessment, treatment and withdrawal particularly difficult to monitor.

Many prescribers don’t know either that their patients are even taking Benzo analogues at all, or are topping up their prescription Benzos.

Because people are cut far more quickly than the recommended guidelines they supplement with supplies they have purchased. Lots of people whose prescribers believe that they are no longer taking Benzos are unaware that they are now just buying them online.

New Psychoactive Substances (formally called legal highs)

Also known as: PlantFood, Nps, Mdat, Eric 3, Dimethocaine, Bath Salts

 What they look like

New psychoactive substances are sold in different forms such as powders, pills, smoking mixtures, liquids, capsules, or on perforated tabs.

The powders can range from white to brown to yellow in colour, and from flour-like to small crystals in consistency. The pills and capsules vary widely in size, shape and colour.

The smoking mixtures tend to come in colourful packaging, often with labels describing the contents as incense or herbal smoking mixture, and the contents look like dried herbs, vegetable matter or plant cuttings.

How they make you feel

The main effects of almost all psychoactive drugs, can be put into four categories. All of these categories will be similar in the effects they produce however they will have widely different strengths and effects on different people.

Stimulants

Stimulants (like mephedrone and naphyrone) act like amphetamines, cocaine, or ecstasy, in that they can make you feel energised, physically active, fast-thinking, very chatty and euphoric.

Sedatives

Downers or sedatives (like GHB and GBL act similarly to benzodiazepines (drugs like diazepam or Valium), or GHB/GBL, in that they can make you feel euphoric, relaxed or sleepy.

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens or psychedelics (like N-bomb drugs) act like LSD, magic mushrooms, ketamine and methoxetamine. They create altered perceptions and can make you hallucinate (seeing and/or hearing things that aren’t there). They can induce feelings of euphoria, warmth, ‘enlightenment’ and being detached from the world around.

Synthetic cannabinoids

Synthetic cannabinoids (like Spice or Black Mamba): act similarly to cannabis. The effects of these are similar to cannabis intoxication: relaxation, altered consciousness, disinhibition, a state of being energised and euphoria. It’s common for synthetic cannabinoids to be added to dried herbs, vegetable matter or plant cuttings to make a smoking mixture.

The Law

New Psychoactive Substances are covered by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, which means it’s illegal to give away or sell.

  • There’s no penalty for possession, unless you’re in prison.
  • Supply and production can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.

Like drink-driving, driving when high is very dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.

If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.