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The Use of Benzodiazepines in Prison Populations.

BROWN C.R.
Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 1978; 39: 219-222.

" Experiences at the Utah State Prison with the use of psychotropic medication... indicated that the indiscriminate use of benzodiazepines could lead to more detriment than benefit." [p. 220]

" During 1974 when several tranquillizers and pain killers were being used relatively indiscriminately... the incidence of riots, stabbings, cuttings, murders and attempted suicides and self-mutilations were extremely high. 22 cases of sputum injections, deliberate self-mutilations, were reported during that period.

In addition there were two major riots and five minor riots, one murder, two suicides, 44 self mutilations, 6 stabbings of other individuals, 8 attacks on guards, and innumerable verbal assaults on guards and other inmates. [p. 221]

" Several prisoners had acute withdrawal symptoms and some who were addicted to Valium and other benzodiazepines had a prolonged withdrawal effect, much longer than even the heroin and methadone addicts. " [p. 221]

[Key words; Valium, diazepam, addiction, dependence, abuse, withdrawal, depression, suicide, aggression, hostility]