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AGGRESSION, VIOLENCE AND BENZODIAZEPINES

1980 - A woman stabbed her husband to death after taking prescribed doses of diazepam (Valium). After hearing expert medical evidence from Professor Michael Rawlins that diazepam induces aggressive outbursts, the jury aquitted the defendant completely.Full article.

"Those taking benzodiazepines may show 'paradoxical behavioural responses such as increased aggression and hostility, uncharacteristic petty criminal activities such as shoplifting, sexual improprieties or offences such as importuning or self-exposure, and excessive emotional responses such as uncontrollable weeping or giggling."
Professor Malcolm Lader

Consultant Psychiatrist, Royal Madsley Hospital.
(C) Drug Notes, ISDD, 1993

Aggression and violent behaviour: induced by prescribed benzodiazepine use is well documented and widely reported.

Crime and benzodiazepines: Reports of a link between Benzodiazepines and crime are growing. Reports from drug misuse agencies of BDZs used specifically when committing crimes are described as "cloak of invisibility" or similar. due to their behavioural effects.

34% of arrestees tested positive for benzodiazepines: A recent ADAM(Arrestee Drug Abuse Monitoring),pilot study monitoring drug use in arrestees
in the Strathclyde and Fife areas of Scotland revealed high levels of BDZ use(33%), second only to cannabis (52%). Alcohol:(32%), opiates: (31%) and methadone:(12%) .

Prisons report increased aggression:

1975, Canada 81% of inmates involved in aggressive incidents had taken diazepam (Valium) and 3.6 times as many acts of aggression occurred in inmates while on these drugs.

1978, Utah A high level of riots, stabbings, cuttings, murders, self mutilation attempted suicide were attributed, at least in part to high consumption of BDZs in a Utah State prison.

1995,Australia (New South Wales) Restriction of clonazepam(a BDZ) prescription was implemented by the Corrections Health Service of New South Wales due to it causing emotionally reactive and aggressive behaviour with self-harm and suicide attempts in inmates.

1995, UK (Parkhurst). Tranqilliser prescription (mostly BDZs) was reduced from 3.5 Kgs PA in 1990/91, to 0.15 Kgs in 1994/95, correspondingly physical assaults by inmates on another person reduced from 5 in 1990 to 0 in 1995.
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"Professor Michael Rawlins said that he believed the tragedy [murder] was probably precipitated by the excessive amount (30mg) of diazepam which the defendant had consumed in the preceding twelve-hour period before her husband's death"
The Law Society Gazette, 22 July, 1987.

B.N.F: "A paradoxical increase in hostility and aggression may be reported by patients taking benzodiazepines. The effects range from talkativeness and excitement, to aggressive and antisocial acts."
  British National Formulary, 2001.

"The implications of the combination of anti-anxiety agents and aggressiveness are astounding."
D.G. Cunningham, D.G.Workman.
Canadian Family Physician, Nov. 1975.

"Paradoxical aggressive outbursts are a recognised adverse effect of diazepam; they are probably caused by the suppression of mechanisms which normally inhibit aggressive outbursts."
Professor Michael Rawlins,
medical expert in court, 1980.

" Aggressive behaviour towards self and others may be precipitated".
Berk Pharmaceuticals,
ABPI Data sheet re: Diazepam, 1991.

* NB: The owner of this site wishes to make clear that a significant proportion of people who take benzodiazepines (both babies and adults) do not suffer the adverse consequences featured here. The concern of Benzact is the significant proportion of those who are adversely affected by benzodiazepines.

DISCLAIMER: Information on this site is not intended as medical advice in any context and personal health concerns should be directed to a relevant qualified professional.

Not all views expressed on this site are necessarily the views of the owner.