- Rachelle Abouchedid, Thea Gilks, Paul I Dargan, Archer John R H JRH Clinical Toxicology Department, Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust and King's Health Partners, London, UK. , and David M Wood.
- Emergency Department, Austin Hospital, 145 Studley Rd., Heidelberg, VIC, 3056, Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org.
- J Med Toxicol. 2018 Jun 1; 14 (2): 134-143.
IntroductionThere has been increasing interest in the availability of non-prescription benzodiazepines and their sale as new psychoactive substances. We wanted to determine UK availability from Internet suppliers and motivations for use of three benzodiazepines (diclazepam, flubromazepam, and pyrazolam).MethodsIn November 2014 and March 2016, using the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction Snapshot Methodology, Internet search engines ( google.co.uk , uk. yahoo.com and ask.com.uk ) were searched using the terms 'buy diclazepam', 'buy flubromazepam' and 'buy pyrazolam'. Threads from drug-user forums ( bluelight.org , drugs-forum.com , erowid.org , legalhighsforum.com ) were analysed using a general inductive approach. Data were converted into price per gram/pellet to allow cost comparisons and to determine motivations for use.ResultsThere was an increase in websites selling these benzodiazepines between 2014 and 2016: diclazepam (49 in 2014 to 55 in 2016), pyrazolam (33 to 35), and flubromazepam (39 to 45). Thirty-eight (63.3%) sites were based in the UK/Europe. Drugs were sold as pellets (49 websites, 81.7%), powder (19, 31.7%), and blotters (1, 1.7%). Pill forms were not available, and one (1.7%) website sold diclazepam/flubromazepam in liquid form. The cost reduced with increasing purchase quantities. Main motivations for use included anxiolysis, management of benzodiazepine withdrawal, sedation/sleep aid, and management of stimulant withdrawal.ConclusionsThese three benzodiazepines are widely available online, most commonly as pellets, and are (mis)used for a number of reasons. This study could be used to support triangulation of data from other sources to inform harm minimisation strategies.
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