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What are Benzos?

Michael Brown
Michael Brown
Director for Counter Narcotics Technology

February 1, 2023 - Society must now live in a constant state of awareness in order to stay ahead of the narco-chemists who are formulating the next generation of poly-substances that increase drug addiction and profit. Narco-chemists have crossed that bridge by combining alprazolam (aka Xanax), which is a form of benzodiazepine (aka "benzo" of "BZD") with heroin, which significantly slows the central nervous system when combined together.

Benzos are listed as a Schedule IV controlled substance and are considered to be major addictive substances.

Benzos are a class of depressants prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety disorders, insomnia, and seizures.  As these conditions continue to increase in our society, so does their availability. How easy would it be for your teens to take a few pills and pass them around to their friends? 

Criminal organizations can look at this as an opportunity to infiltrate the market with counterfeit benzos, incorporating dangerous synthetic chemicals - such as fentanyl - into an uncontrolled manufacturing process.  Those pills that were once being passed among trusted friends, are now part of a lethal game of chance.


Derivatives of Benzos

In recent years, there has been a significant rise in the number of novel psychoactive substances, including designer benzodiazepines. But do we really understand how many different types of benzos have infiltrated the illicit drug market? Well, let me introduce the benzo-derivitive family: Alprazolam, Etizolam, Flualprazolam, Clonazolam, Flubromazolam, and Diclazepam. Fentanyl is not the only deadly opioid that’s causing a surge in unintentional overdose fatalities.

The increase in the use of benzo-use has paralleled the increase in benzodiazepine-associated overdose deaths, increasing from 1135 to 12,290 from 1999 to 2020. Over one-third of fatal overdoses in recent years were associated with benzodiazepines making it the second-most common class of prescription drugs involved in overdose deaths after opioids.

 Make sure you add Benzos to your growing list of topics to cover with your family. It could save their life. 

The use of Handheld Raman Technology to Identify Benzos

The Rigaku ResQ CQL contains a library of over 12,000 compounds that includes pharmaceutical stimulates, antidepressants and relaxers - including the family of benzos.  Find 

BenzosExamples of results of common benzodiazepines from the Rigaku ResQ CQL when scanning a pure laboratory-grade sample.

Learn more about the use of the ResQ CQL handheld Raman analyzer for chemical identification in the illicit drug supply chain.